In Germany we have the saying "der Groschen ist gefallen", which exists in the English language, too:

The penny dropped.

But there is also a variation for slower thinking, "der Groschen fällt pfennigweise", which would correspond to:

Ten pence drop a penny at a time.

Is there any saying like this in English?

  • 1
    Off-topic question: I've never heard "der Groschen fällt pfennigweise" and I rarely hear "der Groschen ist gefallen" since having another currency. Would you say this phrasing (with pfennigweise) is common in your region?
    – Em1
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 11:16
  • I would say it is common in my peer group. "Many" people say "Der Groschen fällt centweise" too :-) But you are right, it is not common in Berlin I would say Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 12:00
  • I thought that the penny dropping already did have the meaning of a slow working brain. Anyway, it doesn't have much to do with the currency in use nowadays. We still use "kwartje" here, even though there are no more quarters.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 12:05
  • You are right. We use the saying, e.g. if you are in a group of 5, one tells a story, three understand them after explaining, the last one after two or three times explaining :) Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 13:11
  • A Groschen is ten Pfenning and it means one Pfenning drops after another. Or what do you mean? Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 16:01

2 Answers 2


There is no direct equivalent that I've ever encountered.

In English you'd use expressions like:

He's slow on the uptake. He's slow to catch on.


Perhaps "Ten cents dropped penny by penny"

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