den Löffel abgeben



Literally, to hand in the spoon. Probably referring to the spoon as a mediaeval symbol of one’s right to alimentation. It was usual in some regions to present spoons to farmhands at the beginning of their service, or to guests upon arrival.


  • IPA(key): /deːn ˈlœfl̩ ˈapɡeːbn̩/
  • (file)


den Löffel abgeben (class 5 strong, third-person singular present gibt den Löffel ab, past tense gab den Löffel ab, past participle den Löffel abgegeben, past subjunctive gäbe den Löffel ab, auxiliary haben)

  1. (idiomatic, informal) to die; to bite the dust; to kick the bucket
    • 2021 July 11, John Mobray, The Plateau - Aufstieg in den Tod[1], epubli, →ISBN:
      Später sind dann Blechdosen draus geworden. Die waren anfangs mit Blei zugelötet worden, und da haben sich etliche Leute daran vergiftet und haben den Löffel abgegeben.
      Later on, [it has been decided upon that] it was going to be tin cans. At first, they were soldered up with lead and then several people have been poisoned and kicked the bucket.


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