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German phrase of the day: Das Gelbe vom Ei

Ana Dilley
Ana Dilley - [email protected]
German phrase of the day: Das Gelbe vom Ei
Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

It may sound like you're talking about breakfast, but this German phrase may just make someone's day.


A literal translation for this idiomatic phrase is ‘the yellow of the egg’ - or yolk, in other words. Though at first this expression sounds nonsensical, with a little explanation this will become an excellent German saying to crack out once in a while. 

Das Eigelb’ is the German word for a yolk, but here ‘the yellow of the egg’ is also referring to an egg’s golden centre.

Essentially, this phrase encompasses the idea that the yolk is the best part of the egg. Where the egg white is considered tasteless and boring, the delicious yolk is what people really enjoy.

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As such, this means that if someone tells you that you are ‘the yellow of the egg’ then it is a massive compliment. Conversely, if someone says that you, or your efforts, are not ‘the yellow of the egg’ then it implies you need to step it up a bit (or they may just be a little bit mean). 

Apparently, this phrase dates all the way back to the mid-1960’s.

If you're wondering what the equivalent in English might be, you might think of the phrase, "the best thing since sliced bread" as a nice culinary way to compliment someone. Alternatively, if someone is ‘das Gelbe vom Ei,’ they could be referred to as "the bee’s knees".

And if we're talking about the exact opposite, an English phrase that reflects the sense of ‘nicht das Gelbe vom Ei,’ could be "it's not all that" or "it’s nothing to write home about".



Das Buch, das ich gestern gelesen habe, war nicht gerade das Gelbe vom Ei.

The book which I yesterday was not the best.

Deine Hilfe beim Projekt war das Gelbe vom Ei, danke!

Your help with the project was amazing, thank you!

Deutschland ist die Schönste, die Nummer Eins, das Gelbe vom Ei!

Germany is the most beautiful, the number one, the best thing since sliced bread!


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