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July idiom: 3 for 1!

edited July 2017 in German
It is time for our July idiom but given that 2017 is already more than half over I decided to do a 3 for 1 this month. 
This is easy because all of the following 3 idioms basically mean the same thing in English which is: basically "You are nuts, completely insane, crazy, there is something seriously wrong with you, you are a fry short of a happy meal, you are not right in the head." 

There are, of course, dozens of creative ways to express this sentiment in German, but here are my all time favorites.

1. nicht alle Tassen im Schrank haben. (literally to not have all the cups in the cupboard)
2. einen Vogel haben  (literally to have a bird)
3. eine Schraube locker haben (literally to have a screw loose)

Obviously, these idioms are colloquial in nature, highly informal and somewhat of an accusation.They should therefore not be used in conversation with strangers, co-workers or bosses unless you mean to give offense or attempt to make a joke. However, among friends and family or used as a joke, these are completely acceptable phrases. 

Examples;
"Meine Mutter redet wieder mit sich selber. Sie hat nicht alle Tassen im Schrank"
"My mother is talking to herself again. She is a fry short of a happy meal"

"Mein Boss wäscht sich 7 Mal die Stunde die Hände. Er hat doch einen Vogel"
"My boss washes his hands 5 times an hour. He is clearly nuts."

"Politiker wollen die Pressefreiheit einschränken. Irgendwie haben die alle eine Schraube locker."
"Politicians want to restrict the freedom of the press. They are all not right in the head somehow."

Origin:
The origin of idiom 1 and 3 are pretty self-evident. If you are missing a cup or have a screw loose in your brain, something is obviously not working correctly. This shows that the thought of something incomplete or a loose screw on anything is enough to give the average German a serious panic attack. It is unthinkable. Spies have probably been identified on the basis of loose screws. If you have ever been mystified by a German manual that warns the user to "not overtighten", this is the explanation.  

Idiom 2 is a little harder to explain. There was apparently an old-wife's tale in medieval Germany which claimed that a person who was nuts had birds nesting in his brain. Hence he had a "bird". 
This explains related expressions such as "Bei dir piept es wohl" which translates literally to "something is chirping in you". You are crazy.
Or the expression "eine Meise haben". As a "Meise" translates to a chickadee, it is pretty much the very same expression.There are, of course, those who point out that the brain of a bird is very small to begin with which may be an alternate explanation if you are so inclined.

Voilà! You now know three different ways to tell somebody in German that he is crackers! Enjoy! 






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