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December Idiom: Lunte riechen

edited December 2017 in German
It is time for our December idiom and I hope, you will agree, that it is a fun one.
"Lunte riechen" literally translates to "to smell a fuse" which obviously originates in our, shall we say, rich military history. 
The idiom is very frequently used in the present perfect (Lunte gerochen) and is used when a person recognizes a potential danger early and has time to prevent the impending consequence of this danger.
In English, you would probably say things like "to smell a rat", or say that somebody is on to a certain danger. 
This expression can be used in formal and informal situations. it is not offensive or off-color in any way.


"Peters Tochter hat Salz in seinen Kaffee geschüttet. Leider hat er aber Lunte gerochen. Seine Tochter war sehr enttäuscht.    
"Peters daughter put salt in his coffee. Unfortunately, he was on to her. His daughter was very disappointed."

"Sophies Chef wollte, dass sie heute Überstunden macht. Sie hat aber Lunte gerochen und ist daher heute auf der Arbeit krank geworden."
"Sophie's boss wanted her to work overtime today, but she smelled a rat and suddenly became sick during work today."


The idiom originates in military history. In order to fire a cannon, you lit a fuse after which you had a certain period of time before the thing actually went off. It also had a very characteristic, burning smell. 
Hence, if you smell a fuse, you still have some time to prevent that cannon to go off, particularly if that cannon is pointing at you. 

Have fun with this one. See you next month!


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