Einen Korb kriegen

Einen Korb kriegen: When you are rejected by your crush in Germany, you literally "get a basket".

“You remind me of my little brother.” As far as I can remember, those were the clearest and most unmistakable words a girl ever used in order to turn me down. Luckily, this was about 15 years ago. Still, that’s not to say I didn’t score quite a few “baskets” since then.

The phrase einen Korb kriegen is very commonly used in Germany to describe the situation where someone is rejected. Originally, this expression developed from a medieval custom. If a man wanted to win a woman over, he had to let her pull him up to her window in a basket. If his beloved was not interested, she showed him that very clearly. The bottom of the basket could be loosened in a few easy steps, and so it could no longer support the wooer’s body weight. Before he knew it, he landed not in the lady’s bedroom, but very painfully on the seat of his pants. 

It is not entirely clear if this somewhat gruesome act was ever actually performed. There are, however, a whole lot of medieval stories and songs that describe this motive in detail. If I were to sing a song about every Korb I received, I would need gallons of sage tea for the hoarseness the next day. 


German Is Weird: Crazy Words von Arschkarte bis Zielwasser - from "ass card" to "aiming water"

For more language weirdness, check the brand new “German is weird” book. 

Related Weirdness

German is weird: Fun Facts and Trivia about the German language

This blog is a love letter to the curiosities of the German language that give it its poetic and, at times, oddly humorous qualities.

German Is Weird: Crazy Words von Arschkarte bis Zielwasser - from "ass card" to "aiming water"

The “German Is Weird” book is now available: order here!

Weirdest Articles
Instagram Feed