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English Expression ‘to Be in Cold Sweat’ Translated into German

The German expression for the phrase: to be in cold sweat = Blut und Wasser schwitzen. It means literally: to sweat blood and water. It’s used to express that someone is in a state of fear, extremely frightened or worried.

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Examples:

During this bad thunderstorm we got caught outside and seeked shelter in a ditch. We layed there in a cold sweat, hoping to not get struck by lightning. = Während dieses schlimmen Gewitters wurden wir draußen erwischt und suchten Schutz in einem Graben. Wir lagen dort, schwitzten Blut und Wasser und hofften, nicht vom Blitz getroffen zu werden.

Michelle stood there in a cold sweat, waiting for something bad to happen. = Michelle stand da, Blut und Wasser schwitzend, und wartete darauf, dass etwas schlimmes passiert.

I’m sitting here in the waiting room in a cold sweat, because I don’t know what the doctors are finding out about his state of health. = Ich sitze hier Blut und Wasser schwitzend im Wartezimmer, weil ich nicht weiß, was die Ärzte gerade über seine Gesundheitszustand herausfinden.

History of this fun expression:

This colloquial expression has its origins in the Bible. The Gospel of Luke (Lk 22,44) mentions that: “and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.” In addition, there is a medical condition called: Hematidrosis (also called hematohidrosis or hemidrosis or blood sweat), where a human sweats blood. Both of these factors contributed to the creation of this idiom. It’s been used in various literary works over the centuries. For example, the famous Nibelungen saga used it in verse 1069 “crying of bloody tears”.

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