Greetings are an essential part of any Linguaholic’s language learning endeavors. It is absolutely essential to know how to greet friends, family, people at work, or even just somebody on the streets properly, so as not to appear as a complete fool.
If you are an avid learner of German, then we would like to present you 33 bullet-proof ways to say goodbye in German. Not all of these Goodbyes are suitable for every situation of course, but if you master all of these and know in which context you can use them, you will have all the goodbyes you’ll probably ever need. Well, hopefully, you won’t even use some of them, because the last few ones are just really MEAN.
Knock yourselves out, Linguaholics!
33 Ways to Say Goodbye in German: The Full Collection
“Tschüss!” sounds rather informal, but it is not, on the contrary, it is very common in all social classes and age groups and is definitely part of the formal register.
This is kinda like the cute form of Tschüss. It’s popular to say that in Berlin and other parts of East Germany. In Switzerland, it is very common to use the suffix -i (as a diminutive) at the end of nouns to ‘convey a slighter degree of its root meaning’ or sometimes just to make something sounds cuter.
Some random examples would include: Tisch, Kaffee, Katze, Hund, Hase.
In Swiss-German, they would become Tischli, Kafi, Chätzli, Hündli und Häsli (or Häseli).
We don’t really say “Tschüssi” in Switzerland, though.
#3 Auf Wiedersehen!
This is the classic goodbye or see you (again). It is very formal. You probably wouldn’t use it too often with friends.
Ok, wait a minute. I thought Bye is English, after all? Well yes, it is. But it is also very common to say ‘Bye’ in Germany. So that’s why it is part of our epic list of 33 goodbyes.
Yes, I know. Ciao is not German either. But still, it is vastly used in Germany as a goodbye as well. And even more so in Switzerland. But in Switzerland, it makes a little bit more sense, as a considerable amount of Swiss people speak Italian as their mother language. But make no mistake about it: Ciao is used all over Switzerland, not only in the parts where people speak Italian.
#6 Bis zum nächsten Mal!
See you next time. This one is pretty straightforward, I guess.
#7 Mach’s gut!
This one could be translated as ‘Take Care’ or ‘So long.’
#8 Man hört sich!
This is another phone-call-related goodbye. If you are already sure that you will talk to that person on the phone again, you could drop a “Man hört sich.”
This one can also come in handy in a regular goodbye, though. In case you already know that you will talk to that person soon over the phone, you could very well use it as a regular goodbye and use this instead of making use of a “Tschüss,” “Ciao,” or one of the other (rather) informal goodbyes.
#9 Pass auf Dich auf!
As in #7, this one means “Take care.” If you would like to say that in a more formal way (maybe to your superior or strangers), you would need to say “Passen Sie auf sich auf!”.
#10 Alles Gute!
This one is very straightforward. It simply stands for ‘All the best.’
Adieu is french, but there are also some people in German-speaking countries such as Austria, Germany & Switzerland that use Adieu to say goodbye. It is certainly a very formal way to say goodbye and is mostly used by older people.
In Germany and also in Switzerland, ‘Adieu’ might also be used in the sense of “farewell,” if one assumes that one does not see the other person again or does not want to see him/her again in the future.
Servus is a greeting formula used in Austria and also in the south of Germany, namely in Bavaria. It can be used to greet someone, but it can also be used to say goodbye.
#13 Gute Nacht!
Well, this one obviously stands for “Goodnight.” As you have probably guessed, it is, therefore, mainly used at night time.
#14 Wir sehen uns!
This is just a ‘see you’ as you know it from English. Nothing special to mention here.
#15 Auf Wiederhören!
This one is only used on the telephone. Instead of Auf Wiedersehen, you would drop an “Auf Wiederhöen” at the end of the conversation.
#16 Schönes Wochenende!
This one is pretty self-explanatory as well. It just simply means ‘Happy Weekend.’ One thing to mention here is that you can use the formula schön/e/r/es + day of the week/special holiday/etc. to create all kinds of goodbyes.
So on a Monday, you could very address your friend with a: “Schönen Montag noch.” And on Christmas, it is very common to wish everyone “Schöne Weihnachten!”.
#17 Gute Reise!
Translated into English, “Gute Reise” means ‘(Have a) Good trip!).
#18 Viel Glück
Simply means Good Luck! The context in which you could use this one is similar to when used in English.
#19 Viel Spaß
A simple “Have fun”. Maybe your partner is going to play soccer with his buddies, so you could simply say “Viel Spaß” instead (or also in addition) of using a ‘regular’ goodbye.
#20 Hau rein!
This one is fun! Hau rein has a couple of meanings. One of the most popular meanings of “Hau rein” is with regards to eating food. In this context, it means something along the lines of “Enjoy your food, buddy.” So let’s say you are at the Kebab store at the corner and your friend is literally starving. He finally gets his Kebap and you would go like: “Hey, Alter, Hau rein!”
The other popular meaning of “Hau rein!” is a legit way to say goodbye. As a farewell, it simply means ‘Goodbye’ or something like ‘Have a good time.’
#21 Leb wohl!
#Auf nimmer Wiedersehen
Ok, this one is not nice. It basically means “I never want to see you again.” You don’t want to make use of this expression unless you are pulling a joke or something like that.
#22 Bis bald
That’s a simple “See you soon” right here. Not much more to say about it.
#23 Bis [Zeitangabe]
Ok, Great. We are almost through with the informal & formal goodbyes. Before we get into the badass goodbyes, I would like to present you another greeting formula that you can use at will. I am talking about using Bis + [an indication of a specific time].
So you could say “Bis morgen” (see you tomorrow), “Bis nachher” (see you later), “bis irgendwann mal “(see you around), bis nächstes Jahr (see you next year) and so on and so forth. I guess you know what I’m saying.
Mean Goodbyes in German
Ok, great. We have just gone through 27 nice ways to say Goodbye to your friends, family, strangers and who knows who. To finish this article off, we want to have a look at some mean ways of saying goodbye. The following six Badboy-Goodbyes sound like they are straight out a Hollywood film. And that’s maybe where they belong to. Most of them are not that suitable for your everyday conversations and goodbyes. But yea, you never know…
#24 Ich verpiss mich jetzt besser! – lit: I’d better piss myself now. It means something along the lines of ‘I will need to get the **** outta here now.
Oh, boy. This one is very very informal.
#25 Fahr zur Hölle! – Go to hell
Well, this one is not really a goodbye. It is more a phrase that you could use to actually make someone leave:=) However, it would not be impossible to say that as you leave, if you truly hate the person that you are talking to or just had a crazy argument with that person.
#26 Ich mach ne Fliege! – Lit: I make a fly now
This one is partly evil, but you could also very well use this in a sarcastic kind of way. So if you would like to spend some quality time with your girlfriend but your brother just keeps knocking on the door, you could very well tell him “Mach ne Fliege!”.
#27 Ich mach mich jetzt aus dem Staub! – I will leave now.
This one is not all that mean either, you could use it when you don’t want to be disturbed. Of course, it is very formal and you should only use this among friends. Your teacher probably wouldn’t find it all that funny if you would tell him that.
#28 Mach nen Abgang! – Get lost
#29 Geh mir aus den Augen – lit: Get out of my eyes
If you feel heavily annoyed about the presence of someone and you would really like to get rid of that person for a certain reason, you might want to say “Geh mir aus den Augen.”
Swiss German Goodbyes
This one just simply means ‘Bye. It is kinda like a short form of saying “Schönen Tag” (have a nice day/evening/afternoon/etc.)
Probably derived from “Adieu.” This one is both used in Germany and in Switzerland.
#32 Es het mi gfröit!
This one means “It was nice to see you.”
#33 Uf widerluege
This one actually corresponds to “Auf Wiedersehen” in High German. “Wider” means ‘again” and “luege” means “to see” in Swiss-German.
Goodbyes for daaayz
Ok, there you have it. 33 ways to say goodbye. But after all, people usually start with a greeting, then go on having some sort of conversation and only at the end of the conversation the goodbyes come into play, right?
So what’s your point?
My point is that you might want to brush up your German greetings as well. Don’t worry, though. Just check this article out and you are good to go!
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.