German phrase of the day: Bekannt wie ein bunter Hund

Shannon Chaffers
Shannon Chaffers • 21 Apr, 2023 Updated Fri 21 Apr 2023 18:02 CEST
German phrase of the day: Bekannt wie ein bunter Hund
Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

We all have that friend who seemingly knows everyone else around them, no matter where they go. In German, you can use this colourful idiom to describe your people-loving pal.


Why do I need to know it? 

It’s an effective way to describe someone’s outgoing personality, and dropping it in everyday conversation will serve you well in this dog-loving country.  

What does it mean? 

The phrase translates directly to “known like a colorful dog,” based on the idea that in a world full of dogs with one or two-colored coats, a multicolored canine would certainly stand out. 

Originally, the expression was deployed as an insult, used to describe someone who stood out for their negative characteristics. In English, it would be similar to saying that someone “sticks out like a sore thumb.”  

Nowadays though, the phrase has lost its negative connotations. You can use it in a positive sense to describe a conspicuous friend with a lot of connections, or someone who is famous in their neck of the woods. 

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Klartext

Use it like this: 

Jeder kennt meinen Freund Thomas. Er ist bekannt wie ein bunter Hund.

Everybody’s heard of my friend Thomas. He’s known all over town.

In Berlin ist der DJ bekannt wie ein bunter Hund.

This DJ is well-known in Berlin.



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