Hallo, And 17 Other Ways To Say Hello In German
You’ll probably learn guten Morgen (literally “good morning” in German), guten Tag (good day) and guten Abend (good evening) in your first German lesson. You might also learn Hallo (Hello) for more informal situations and, luckily, Hi in German works just as well. But that’s child’s play. Let’s get those easy-peasy introductions out of the way so we can turn our attention to the more interesting, nuanced world of the German greeting.
|Guten Tag||Hello (lit. Good day)|
|Guten Morgen||Good morning|
|Guten Abend||Good evening|
There are a myriad of subtleties to the way you greet, address and speak to different people in different contexts. Judgement of register — the way you adjust your written and spoken words, and your body language, to fit a certain situation — is one of the hardest things to learn in a foreign language. Indeed, many people struggle with it in their own language, and it very often starts with the humble hello. You don’t walk into the bank and fist bump the clerk, nor do you greet your doctor with a “Yo, what up?”, or enter the pub, tip your hat to your best friend and ask him “How do you do?”
You’re well equipped for formal situations with a carefully enunciated Guten Tag, wie geht es Ihnen? (lit. Good day, how are you?), regardless of whether you’re addressing one person or several people. That’s the easy bit. To advance to the next level, you’ll have to learn how to crank it up a little with your salutations, and how to accommodate for regional variances.
How To Say Hello With Flair
German also has a tendency to dandify its Hellos and Goodbyes. Hallo can become Hallöchen (-chen denoting the diminutive, so a kind of little hello), and Tschüss (bye) often becomes Tschüssi. Both these salutations commonly leave the mouths of beefy German men with a beguilingly fluffy, upward intonation. More common than Hallöchen is the ubiquitous Na? — a two-letter phatic exclamatory question that carries so many different meanings that it deserves an entire semester of German lessons to itself, and yet it isn’t covered at all. This is perhaps the single greatest travesty of modern language education.
The Many Meanings Of “Na?“
Back in the ’90s when I was at secondary school in England, we’d commonly greet fellow students with a grunted “alright,” that was often contracted to “’right,” and always met with a similarly intoned “‘right.” When I first encountered the word na (within about 68 seconds of arriving in Germany), I assumed it meant something like this, and I wasn’t so far off. It’s a contracted way of saying Hey, how ya doing? which ensures an equally contracted response — most commonly “na?”. When saying hello to one another, Germans often don’t say hello. They eye up one another silently in a salutation-standoff, before one folds and emits a precisely enunciated “na?” To add an extra degree of affection to your na, you can append du, for a sweet-sounding “na du?”
Aside from greeting, na can also be used to tease a response from a hesitant speaker, or it can be a dismissive exclamation when combined with ja (na ja), or an expression of reluctant acceptance when combined with gut (na gut). Good luck mastering this little two-letter devil.
Vary Your Hello To Match The Time And Place
Besides na, there are other ways to climb down the ladder of formality to meet your peers at eye level. If you like, you can kill the guten and simply throw in a Tag, or Tach. Similarly, in the morning, you can simply say Morgen.
There are a few notable regional differences: in Hamburg, you’ll often be greeted with a chirpy moin moin or moinsen, and in Bavaria with a stout Grüß Gott, or Servus! In Switzerland, a Grüzi may also be employed. Sei gegrüßt! and Glück auf! are two further, regional modes of greeting in the south. Finally, you can use Mahlzeit (lit. meal time) to greet colleagues in passing during the lunch break, and Hallo zusammen when you say hello to a group of people and want to avoid having to individually greet each person with a handshake.
Now you’re down with the German “hello,” why not discover some of the coolest compound nouns in the world? And if you’re fed up of learning German words which actually exist, why not read about these ones which don’t? The German language: it’s still completely awful, but in a rather lovely way.
German Greetings and Good-Byes — dummies
- German Greetings and Good-Byes
By Edward Swick
When traveling in German-speaking countries, you’ll find that the words and phrases you use most frequently will be the common German greetings (Grüße). The words and phrases will quickly become second nature because you use them day in and day out with everyone you come across.
As you’d expect, you should use a polite greeting when you run into someone you know or want to know. But in most German-speaking countries it’s considered good manners to greet everyone. So, whether you’re speaking to a clerk, a waiter, or just bumping into someone on the street, you should still take the time to say a polite Guten Tag before you proceed.
The most common ways to greet someone in German are
Grüß Gott (Hello [in Southern Germany])
Guten Morgen (Good morning)
Guten Tag (Hello, Good afternoon)
Guten Abend (Good evening)
Although people in Germany usually prefer to greet non-family members with handshakes instead of the cheek kissing that is customary in most of Europe, cheek kissing is still a common type of greeting in many German-speaking countries. However, the rules regarding the number of kisses to give and knowing when and who to kiss change from place to place. The good news is that when you meet someone for the first time, you can usually just shake hands. Then just watch how other people interact. You’ll quickly recognize the pattern.
There are also many ways to say goodbye.
Auf Wiedersehen (Goodbye)
Tschüs (Goodbye [Informal])
Auf Wiederhören (Goodbye [on the telephone])
Bis spatter (See you later)
Bis bald (See you soon)
Bis morgen (See you tomorrow)
Bis Freitag (See you on Friday)
Alles Gute (All the best)
Viel Glück (Good luck)
Machs gut (Take care [S])
Asking and responding to “How are you?”
How are you? How’s it going? How many times a day do we hear or say these brief greetings at the beginning of our conversations? So many times, in fact, that half the time, we don’t even pay attention. These pleasantries (Nettigkeiten) are common in German-speaking countries as well. The most common ways to ask how someone is doing are:
Wie geht’s? (How’s it going?)
Geht es Ihnen gut? (Are you well?)
Wie geht es dir? (How are you? [Informal])
Wie geht es Ihnen? (How are you? [Formal])
As you’d expect, when someone asks you how you’re doing, there are many possible responses.
Gut, danke. (I’m fine, thank you.)
Es geht mir sehr gut. (I’m very well.)
German Greetings: 22 Useful Ways to Say Hi and Bye
After arriving in Germany, I quickly realized something.
Young Germans never used the greetings I’d learned in class.
The only person who said Guten Abend to me was a man in an ice cream shop who looked old enough to be my great-grandfather.
I quickly figured out that Hallo is the best casual greeting to use in Germany, while Tschüss is more typical than the actually super-formal Auf Wiedersehen.
Once I learned these words, I kind of stuck with ‘em. When you’re just starting to learn a language, it can be easy to get used to saying the same few words all the time. And that’s totally fine for the beginner Deutsch speaker.
But after a while, you might find yourself getting bored with using the same old terms for greeting and leaving people. If you’re looking to learn some new German vocabulary for greetings, here are a few other options of German Grüße (greetings) and Abschiedsgrüße (goodbyes) to consider.
Even if you’re just starting out with German, it’ll be useful to have a look at these—so that when someone greets you with a friendly Alles klar? you won’t stare back at them in complete confusion (like I did a few times until I figured out what it meant), but can instead respond Gut, danke!
22 Useful German Greetings
9 Ways to Say Hello:
As mentioned above, this is your typical German greeting. Nice and easy to pronounce, and suitable for just about every situation.
Turns out Germans say this too! Go ahead and use Hi when speaking with young people or in informal settings.
Guten Morgen / Guten Abend / Guten Tag
Literally translates to “Good morning,” “Good evening,” “Good day.” Although you might think of Guten Abend as being similar to saying “Have a good night,” it sounds more old-fashioned in German—more like “Good evening.” Maybe reserve this one for formal situations, or when speaking to people who are much older than you. When talking to someone you would call “Sir” or “Ma’am,” Guten Tag might be an appropriate greeting.
Wie geht es dir? / Wie geht es Ihnen?
This is how to say “How are you?” in German. Use dir when speaking to someone young or someone you know very well; Ihnen is the appropriate formal address for a stranger, especially someone older, and people in positions of authority. In many English-speaking countries, it’s typical to say “How are you?” to everyone you speak with, including waitresses and store clerks. However, in Germany, this is not as common, so it’s best to use this greeting with people you know.
Similar to Wie geht es dir, but more casual. This essentially translates to “What’s happening?” or “How’s it going?” (Geht’s is a shortened form of geht es, so Wie geht’s? literally means “How goes it?”) Use these greetings the same way you’d use the equivalent English phrases. Perfect for your classmates and friends, potentially not cool with your new boss or super-strict professor.
Was ist los?
This one can be a bit confusing. Colloquially, it means the same as Wie geht’s: what’s up, how’s it going, how’s it hanging. Again, fine to use with young people in casual conversation. However, what you have to remember about Was ist los? is that it can also mean “What’s wrong?”, especially when you add in a denn. Was ist denn los? usually means “What’s the matter?” and Was ist hier los? can be used to ask “What’s wrong here?” But don’t worry: in conversation, you’ll most likely be able to tell the difference between these questions by tone of voice and context.
Similar to Was ist los, Alles klar literally translates to “Everything alright?” However, it’s often used as a casual greeting among young people. When used in that context, Alles klar is basically the same as saying, “What’s up?” in English.
Grüß Gott / Grüß dich / Grüß Sie / Grüezi
I’m including these on the list for those of you who might find yourselves in Austria, Switzerland, or southern Germany, where these greetings are used. Saying Grüß Gott in northern Germany would most likely surprise whoever you’re talking to. Literally translating to “God greets you,” this can seem like an old-fashioned way of saying hello to someone who is not from southern German-speaking regions. However, you’ll definitely still hear it in places like Bayern and Austria, so it’s good to know in case you visit these locations. Remember to only use Grüß dich with people you would address casually, and use Grüß Sie for everyone else.
This is also a southern greeting, which can be used as a goodbye as well. Similar to Grüß dich, you might hear Servus used in Bayern and Austria, as well as elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe. Servus is the Latin word for “servant,” and as a greeting or goodbye it was originally a shortened version of the Latin phrase “At your service.”
13 Ways to Say Goodbye:
The German equivalent of “bye” or “bye-bye,” Tschüss is a nice, informal way of saying goodbye in just about any situation.
In my experience, Ciao is super common in Berlin, where you’ll probably hear it just as often as Tschüss. Obviously, it comes from Italy (where it is both a greeting and a goodbye), but people tend to use Ciao as a way of saying bye in many European countries.
As mentioned above, this is pretty old-fashioned, and definitely not your typical German goodbye. May be appropriate for formal circumstances. Think of it as like saying “Farewell”—probably too formal for your friends or classmates.
Not as formal as Gute Morgen/Abend, this is the German version of “Goodnight.”
Bis bald / Auf bald
This is equivalent to “See you soon,” and is a good, casual way of saying bye to friends.
Bis dann / Bis später
These both mean “See you later.” Just like Bis bald, these are great options for saying bye to casual friends and acquaintances.
Wir sehen uns
Another nice way to see “See ya later.” If you add a dann to say Wir sehen uns dann, it means “See you then,” which can be a good way to say bye after making plans with someone.
Bis zum nächsten Mal
This is a way to say “See you next time,” and would be appropriate for saying goodbye to someone you see regularly: for example, a classmate or co-worker.
Wir sprechen uns bald / Wir sprechen uns später
This literally means “We’ll speak soon,” or “We’ll speak later.” Equivalent to the English “Talk to you later.” A good way of ending phone conversations.
This is essentially equivalent to “Talk to you later,” and is another good way to say bye on the telephone.
Schönen Tag (noch) / Schönes Wochenende
These are good ways to say bye to just about anyone. Schönen Tag noch (the noch is optional, you may hear people say just Schönen Tag) means “Have a good day,” while Schönes Wochenende means “Have a good weekend.” You’ll often hear store clerks using these phrases. If someone you know says this to you, you could respond with Dir auch! (“You too!”).
This means “Have fun!” and can be used in many conversational contexts—for example, when saying goodbye to friends who are going to a party, on a trip, etc.
Gute Fahrt! / Gute Reise!
This means “Have a good trip!” and is a good way to say bye to someone who’s going on a vacation or journey of some kind.
And One More Thing…
So you’ve got the basics down. What’s next?
If you’re looking for a fun, engaging and authentic way to continue learning German beyond “hi” and “bye,” you’ve got to check out FluentU.
FluentU takes great videos and turns them into language learning experiences so that you can learn real German as people really speak it.
You can start enjoying the same content that native speakers actually watch, right now. We’ve got everything from Volkswagen commercials to funny YouTube videos, scenes from “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the hit song “Let It Go” from “Frozen.”
Watching a fun video, but having trouble understanding it? FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts.
You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
And FluentU isn’t just for watching videos. It’s a complete platform for learning. It’s designed to effectively teach you all the vocabulary from any video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. This is a level of personalization that hasn’t been done before.
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If you liked this post, something tells me that you’ll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.
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Hello in German — some German greetings
– January 9, 2012
When I travel abroad and don’t know the language I usually like to learn at least a few basic words. It doesn’t just help you get around, but it’s also considered quite polite by the locals. They realize right away that you’ve put a little effort into learning about their culture and language.
Because to greet someone is one of the most basic functions of a language I will give you a few phrases to say hello in German.
General phrases used to say hello in German
”Hallo” – simple enough. “Hallo” is the equal to hello in German and the most versatile German greeting. It’s neither formal nor informal and not related to a particular situation. You can’t go wrong with it and if you don’t know what else to use simply go with it.
”Guten Tag” means „Good Day“ and is a more formal way to say hello in German. It is appropriate if you would like to greet someone on the street to ask for directions, address a waiter in a restaurant or ask something in a shop. If you are meeting someone for the first time or talking to a stranger on the phone you should use “Guten Tag”.
”Guten Morgen” and ”Guten Abend” are variations of the above, meaning “Good Morning” and “Good Evening”. If you want to say hello in German and refer to the time of day, this is a good expression to use. Otherwise it is the same as “Guten Tag”.
”Hi” is the same as the English “Hi”, so it is quite informal and a good way to greet your friends and people you already know.
Shortened versions: It is also possible to shorten expressions like “Guten Tag” by omitting the first word “Guten”. So you would simply get “Tag”, “n’Abend” (the n’ is just a sort of leftover from “GuteN”) and “Morgen” as alternative and more informal ways to say hello in German than the full expression.
Local phrases to say hello in German
There are also some ways to say hello in German, which are mainly used in certain regions. Just listen to the people around you and you will get a clue as to what they are using.
”Servus” and ” Grüß Gott” are being used in the South of Germany, Bavaria for example, as well as in Austria.
”Moin” or Moin, moin is used to say hello in German by people in Northern Germany. It is a variation “Morgen” but can be used any time of day to say hello.
Hello in German – Pronunciation
When I started this blog entry about ways to say hello in German, I wanted to write out how to pronounce the various ways to say hello in German, but found that it is quite ambiguous and not very accurate. What I recommend you do is go to the LEO Dictionary, type in the phrase and you will get a result with a small speaker icon next to it. If you click on that it will play a short audio file with the pronunciation. If you have any other questions about how to say hello in German just leave a message below or drop me a mail.
Posted in Travel, Trivia.
hello — Translation into German — examples English
These examples may contain rude words based on your search.
These examples may contain colloquial words based on your search.
We agreedellen wolf is innocent. hello.
Wir waren einverstanden damit, dass Wolf unschuldig ist. Hallo.
Finally got a personalized hello from Earl.
Ich habe endlich ein personifiziertes hallo von Earl bekommen.
Plus, hello, it’s a girl.
Und, hallo, sie ist eine Frau.
How about a, hello, son.
Wie wärs mit einem Hallo, mein Sohn.
Speaking of healthy, hello there, my star patient.
Wo wir grade von Gesund sprechen, Hallo, mein Starpatient.
Dear Glass, hello from Belgium.
Liebe Glass. Hallo aus Belgien.
Page opened the trunk, and hello, dead guy.
Page öffnete den Kofferraun und hallo, toter Typ.
Goodbye, hassles, hello, casino.
Adieu, Probleme. Hallo, Casino.
It means «hello» in Arabic.
Das heißt «Hallo» auf Arabisch.
And, hello, I was right.
Und, hallo, ich hatte recht.
Carol Anne, please tell Mommy hello.
Carol Anne, sag der Mama hallo.
Well, hello there, little darlin’.
Also, hallo auch, Schätzchen.
Well, hello, young fellow.
Plus, hello. I’m right here.
Hallo, ich bin neben dir.
I don’t know your name, but hello.
Ich kenne Ihren Namen nicht, aber hallo.
I expect that’s Klingon for hello.
Das heißt wohl hallo auf Klingonisch.
However, this hopes I. hello.
Das hoff ich doch. Hallo.
And all I could say was hello.
Alles, was ich sagen konnte, war Hallo.
This is Nicki, my boyfriend. hello
Das ist der Nicki, mein Freund. Hallo
And a special hello to everyone else.
Und ein besonderes Hallo an alle andere.
How To Say Hello In German
Hi there! How are you today? Are you alright? Doesn’t it feel nice to be greeted at the beginning of an article you are reading? It is much more personal than just diving straight into the subject matter and it feels rather intimate, doesn’t it? That is because greetings are essential to language: we greet to acknowledge each other’s presence, to express happiness when seeing a friend, to stay in touch with people and also to comply with social etiquette. Greetings are one of the first verbal routines learned by children and usually the first thing you learn in a language class. I personally do not feel like I am ready to fully throw myself into any language until I know how to say hello, bye, how are you? and I’m alright.
If you are learning German, saying hello is actually pretty easy: just change the E to an A and you get Hallo. However, did you know that there are more layers to be explored when it comes to greeting someone in German? There is a lot more regional, social and contextual variety than you might think.
So, let’s first take a trip to the south, to the beautiful state of Bavaria, as well as to Germany’s neighboring, and very mountainous, country of Austria. Here, people greet each other all day long with a vigorous grüß Gott (literally “greet God”). If you know the person you are greeting a little bit better, let’s say you live on the same street or are both in the Alpine Association, you might say servus, which doesn’t really mean anything in German because it comes from Latin. It means slave or servant and so people acknowledge each other by saying, roughly speaking, “I’m at your service.” If you hear something that sounds like Habadere, you are certainly back in Bavaria, as this is what “Habe die Ehre” (I have the honor), sounds like in the local dialect. By the way, in Switzerland, you will be greeted with a heartfelt Grüezi, which is short for “Gott grüez-i” (God may greet you).
Heading back up to the much flatter but nonetheless scenic north of Germany, you will likely hear moin, the dialect form of morgen, which in turn is short for the standard German Guten Morgen (Good morning). People might even greet you with a spirited Moin, moin!, but these variations are likely to only be used up until about midday. After 12 o’clock you will start to hear Guten Tag just about everywhere in Germany — that is “good day” — or the shortened version, Tag, sometimes lazily pronounced as Tach. In the workplace, your colleagues will express a sonorous Mahlzeit before and around lunchtime, which literally means “meal time” but carries the connotation of “enjoy your meal!”
In the evenings, you can greet people with Guten Abend (good evening) or, if you’re grumpy and tired, a shortened n’Abend will suffice. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t keep track of the time of day, you might just want to go for the all-rounder grüß dich (greet you), which you can say whenever you want.
Talking about universal all-rounders: what about “Hey” or “Hi”? They work in so many languages, and German is no exception. The same is true for jo (pronounced like “yo”), just make sure you spell it with a J rather than a Y. These options are rather informal though, so it might not get you a smile in your local Bürgeramt (citizens registration office). You can also greet your friends with a relaxed alles klar? (literally “all clear,” meaning “you’re all right?”), or with a swag Was geht ab? which almost sounds like its English equivalent of “what’s up?” And finally, there is the mysterious na…? While this can mean a myriad things, one thing’s for sure — it is always an invitation to start a nice little chat.
Thank you, Hello and Yes in German
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