As of June 30, 2018, live e-Tutoring has been discontinued.
Please click here for more information.

June Idiom "Jemandem die Daumen drücken"

edited May 2017 in German
Our June idiom is going to be very useful to you as you can use it in informal and formal settings and is universally understood. It will enable you to express a sentiment that will help you make friends!

"Jemandem die Daumen drücken" means literally "to press my thumbs for you". 
In English you would say: I wish you luck. Or my thoughts and prayers are with you. Or I will think about you hoping for the very best possible outcome. Or Toi, Toi, Toi!
Using this phrase is usually accompanied by making a certain gesture. You show both hands and press you thumbs. Some people will even move their hands up and down three times as in toi, toi, toi.

Ich drücke dir die Daumen für dein Vorstellungsgespräch. Ich hoffe, du bekommst den Job.
"I wish you all the best. I hope you will get the job."

Lade das Mädchen doch zum Abendessen ein. Ich halte dir die Daumen, dass sie ja sagt.
"Invite the girl to dinner. I wish you the best of luck that she says yes." 


This is said to be a phrase that was already used by the Romans. Plinius the elder seems to refer to this phrase showing that it was in use in his time. („Pollices, cum faveamus, premere etiam proverbio iubemur“)
Obviously, the thumb played a big role in gladiator arenas in ancient Rome where the spectators indicated with their thumbs whether the gladiator should live or die.

In the middle ages, it then became a symbol of warding off witches and evil spirits and it is easy to see how it morphed into the phrase we have today.

Register or Sign In to comment.