Culture and society

Greetings in German

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Formal:

Guten Tag

This is the most important formal greeting in German. You can use it throughout the day.

Depending on the time of day, you can also use:

Guten Morgen – until about 11 a.m.

Guten Abend – as of about 6 p.m.

When you greet another person, you offer your hand for a handshake and look them in the eye in a friendly way.

 

Informal:

Hallo!

This is how you greet friends, acquaintances and young people. You can also just smile, offer a handshake, or nod to them.

Some people, especially young women, hug or give each other a kiss on the cheek.

 

Everyday language:

Hi!

Tach!

Hey!

There are lots of different options in everyday language.

Na?

You can say this to people you know well and see on a regular basis. It more or less means: "Hello, everything ok with you?" or "Hello, what's up?" The easiest way to respond is to ask the same question back: "Na?"

 

Regional variations

 

In some regions there are particular greetings, such as:

Servus! – especially in Bavaria and Austria, informal

Grüß Gott! – Southern Germany and Austria

Grüezi! – Switzerland

Moin! – Northern Germany

Culture and society