German phrase of the day: Jetzt haben wir den Salat

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 12 Jul, 2022 Updated Tue 12 Jul 2022 11:30 CEST
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Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash

Learn this phrase to vent your anger next time you and your friends get into trouble.


Why do I need to know Jetzt haben wir den Salat?

Because there's nothing better than having the right words to express a messy situation, especially when you're annoyed. With this colloquial expression, you can do just that while sounding like a native speaker.

What does it mean?

Jetzt haben wir den Salat (pronounced like this) literally translates to ‘now we have the salad’. But here ‘salad’ is chaos or mess. It means something like: ‘Now we’re in a right mess!’ or similar to another English food-related idiom: ‘Now we’re in a pickle!’ or 'now we've had it'.

You can use this expression when something goes wrong and things become chaotic. Perhaps you forgot to set the alarm clock and caused your family to miss an important appointment.

It’s also used when a tricky situation is caused by someone else, and you want to get across that it could have been easily prevented.


It's not clear when this phrase first surfaced in German language. But here is what we know: the origin of salad dates back to the Ancient Roman period when the first salad consisted of raw vegetables dressed with oil and salt.

A salad could be a confusing and messy situation. (Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash)

The root word of salad, ‘sal’ means “salt” in ancient Latin. In the Middle Ages, Europeans began experimenting with salads with whatever ingredients they had available, creating many early versions of the salads we love today.

The German phrase isn't literally to do with salad, although it is about the the philosophy of the dish. The mixture of ingredients, toppings, and dressings makes ‘salad’ the perfect substitute for a big old 'mess’. 

Beware that this expression is quite informal, so you might want to think twice before saying this to your Austrian boss. 

READ ALSO: The everyday Austrian groceries that have a double meaning

Use it like this:

Ich habe euch mehrmals gesagt, dass ihr das nicht tun sollt. Aber ihr wolltet ja nicht auf mich hören. Und jetzt haben wir den Salat!

I told you guys several times not to do this. But you didn't want to listen to me. And now we've had it!

Warum konntest du nicht aufpassen, jetzt haben wie den Salat

Why couldn't you be careful? Now we're in a right mess. 

You can also use the phrase like this: Da haben wir den Salat.



The Local 2022/07/12 11:30

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