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Thread: Cold enough for hell to freeze over

  1. #1
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    Cold enough for hell to freeze over

    I thought the following sounded OK:

    Der Winter in Hamburg ist kalt, außerordentlich kalt, kalt genug, um die Hölle zu überfrieren.

    In English, this is a not unusual expression, but I was told that in German it isn't said/isn't understood. Is that so? How, then, would the idea be expressed?

    It was cold enough for hell to freeze over.

  2. #2
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    Re: Cold enough for hell to freeze over

    "...um die Hölle zufrieren zu lassen."

    "Überfrieren" means that there's a thin layer of ice and underneath liquid water.
    It is not necessary that whilst I live I live happily; but it is necessary that so long as I live I should live honourably. (Immanuel Kant)

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    Re: Cold enough for hell to freeze over

    Thanks. If you read in a story (etc.) that it was kalt genug um die Hölle zufrieren zu lassen, would you or "the average German-speaking reader" easily understand it?

  4. #4
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    Re: Cold enough for hell to freeze over

    Quote Originally Posted by popotla View Post
    Thanks. If you read in a story (etc.) that it was kalt genug um die Hölle zufrieren zu lassen, would you or "the average German-speaking reader" easily understand it?
    Yes, "die Hölle friert zu" is idiomatic and will be understood easily.

    Alternatively, one could say "die Hölle friert ein". Both with "ein" und "zu" it is idiomatically correct and wide-spread.

    An amusing story in this context: http://tillmister.blogspot.de/2007/0...zufrieren.html


  5. #5
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    Re: Cold enough for hell to freeze over

    There's also a nice possiblity for a girl to turn you down using this phrase
    "Eher friert die Hölle zu als, dass ich mit dir ausgehe."

    So yes, it's idiomatic, and everybody would understand it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajjo View Post
    I've first read this story in Czech and still laugh my *** off every time I read it

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    Re: Cold enough for hell to freeze over

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajjo View Post
    ...An amusing story in this context: http://tillmister.blogspot.de/2007/0...zufrieren.html
    Urban legend it appears!
    http://www.snopes.com/college/exam/hell.asp
    John Henry Newman : "We demand strict proof for opinions we dislike, but are satisfied with mere hints for what we’re inclined to accept."

  7. #7
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    Re: Cold enough for hell to freeze over

    Quote Originally Posted by L'irlandais View Post
    Urban legend it appears!
    Surely, I reckon it's just a nice story.


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    Re: Cold enough for hell to freeze over

    Quote Originally Posted by L'irlandais View Post
    Definitely. I've seen it in German, English, Polish and Czech already. It wouldn't be translated in so many languages if it were real, I think.

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    Re: Cold enough for hell to freeze over

    Hi Roy,
    My point was that ;
    A renowned scientist (Paul Darwin Foote) wrote the article, as a spoof, in his company's magazine (Taylor Instrument), way back in the 1920's.
    Rather than some bright student during a stressful exam, in the late 1990's.
    Many Urban Legends contain a grain of truth.
    John Henry Newman : "We demand strict proof for opinions we dislike, but are satisfied with mere hints for what we’re inclined to accept."

  10. #10
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    Re: Cold enough for hell to freeze over

    Thanks for comments (OP).

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