German Expressions around Easter: Mein Name ist Hase

German Expressions around Easter

Like actually every language, the German language has a variety of expressions that are not really easy to understand as their literal translation usually doesn't make any sense. Those are best learned in an appropriate context. I will present a few interesting German idioms to you and add a literal translation as well as a similar English expression below it and if available some etymological information. Auf geht's:

Mein Name ist Hase, ich weiß von nichts.

Lit.:  My name is hare, I know of nothing. 
Fig.: I don’t know about anything
Where does this come from?
This expression has nothing to do with hares, bunnies or any other animal. It has to do with a certain man named Victor von Hase. Hase was a law student in Heidelberg in the 19th century. He got into trouble with the law when he helped his friend flee to France after he shot another student in a duel. When Hase was asked in court what his involvement was, he declared: “Mein Name ist Hase; ich verneine die Generalfragen; ich weiß von nichts.” (=My name is "Hase"; I negate the general questions; I know of nothing) From that phrase came the expression that is still in use today.
Funny Fact
There is a popular song from the1970s by Chris Roberts with the same title that you might enjoy: Mein Name ist Hase.

Viele Hunde sind des Hasen Tod

Many dogs are of-the hare death
Many hounds soon catch the hare. = There is not much one person can do against many.

Sehen wie der Hase läuft 

See how the hare runs.
See how the wind blows

Da liegt der Hase im ​Pfeffer

There lies the hare in-the pepper.
That’s the fly in the ointment. (A small annoyance that spoils the whole thing.)

Ein alter Hase

An old hare.
An old-timer / old-stager

Wie ein Kaninchen vor der Schlange stehen

Like a rabbit in-fron-of the snake stand.
A deer caught in the headlights

Das Ei des Kolumbus

The egg of-theL Columbus.
An easy solution to a complex problem

Man muss sie wie ein rohes Ei behandeln

One has-to handle her like a raw egg.
To handle someone with kid gloves.

Er sieht aus, wie aus dem Ei gepellt

He looks as if (he was) pealed out of the egg.
When somebody looks well put-gether.

Der ist ein richtiger Hasenfuß

He's a real hare-foot.
He’s chicken.

Der ist ein Angsthase 

He's a fear-hare.
He’s chicken

Er ist ein Eierkopf

He’s an egghead. (He's a thinker but in a negative way)

Where does this come from?
This expression comes from the prejudice that scientists very often have a (semi) bald head which then reminds us of an egg.

EDITED: 15th of June 2015 by Michael Schmitz

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Your Citation
Bauer, Ingrid. "German Expressions around Easter: Mein Name ist Hase." ThoughtCo, Jan. 29, 2020, Bauer, Ingrid. (2020, January 29). German Expressions around Easter: Mein Name ist Hase. Retrieved from Bauer, Ingrid. "German Expressions around Easter: Mein Name ist Hase." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 23, 2023).