Saying Goodbye in German: A Guide for Beginners

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Written By Alex

Learning a new language is like unlocking a door to a different world. Among the many nuances of language, knowing how to appropriately say goodbye in various contexts is a key social skill. In this article, we will look at different ways of saying goodbye in German, covering not just the words, but also the cultural aspects that come with them.

The Importance of Context When Saying Goodbye in German

In German, as in many languages, the context dictates the form of farewell. There’s a difference between formal and informal situations, as well as regional variations that one must be aware of.

Formal Goodbyes in German

In formal settings, such as a workplace or when addressing someone with respect, the standard phrase is “Auf Wiedersehen.” This phrase translates to “until we see again,” and is universally understood and appreciated across all German-speaking areas.


  • Herr Schmidt: “Auf Wiedersehen, Frau Müller.” (Mr. Schmidt: “Goodbye, Mrs. Müller.”)
  • Frau Müller: “Auf Wiedersehen, Herr Schmidt.” (Mrs. Müller: “Goodbye, Mr. Schmidt.”)

Informal Goodbyes

When in casual settings, with friends or family, Germans tend to use shorter, more relaxed phrases.

The most common among these is “Tschüss,” a casual word close to “bye” in English.


  • Tom: “Tschüss, Anna!” (Tom: “Bye, Anna!”)
  • Anna: “Bis später, Tom!” (Anna: “See you later, Tom!”)

Regional Variations in Saying Goodbye in German language

In Southern Germany, especially in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, you might hear “Servus” or “Pfiat di,” both informal and with a touch of regional flavor. Conversely, in Northern Germany, particularly in Hamburg or Bremen, “Moin, moin” (a greeting that can also mean goodbye) and “Tschüß” are more prevalent.


  • Maria: “Servus, Josef!” (Maria: “Goodbye, Josef!”)
  • Josef: “Pfiat di, Maria!” (Josef: “Take care, Maria!”)
  • Lena: “Moin, moin, Peter!” (Lena: “Hello, Peter!”)
  • Peter: “Tschüß, Lena!” (Peter: “Bye, Lena!”)

Understanding the Vocabulary

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the vocabulary and its nuances. Synonyms like “Lebewohl” (farewell) for “Auf Wiedersehen,” or understanding the verb “sehen” (to see) in “Auf Wiedersehen” enriches your understanding and use of the language.

“Auf Wiedersehen” is one of the most standard forms of saying goodbye in German. This phrase is more than a mere farewell; it carries a sense of expectation of meeting again.

The verb “sehen” (to see) embedded in it emphasizes this future meeting. It’s formal, respectful, and widely used across all German-speaking regions.

Embracing the Grammar

German grammar can be intricate, but focusing on key aspects like formal and informal address, regional variations, and the use of “bis” (until) in phrases like “Bis später” (see you later) can significantly improve your conversational skills.

When Saying Goodbye in German, Practice Makes Perfect

To truly master these phrases, practice is crucial. Try to use them in appropriate contexts, whether in a language exchange, with a German-speaking friend, or even in a self-study session.

Remember, the goal is not just to memorize these words and phrases but to understand their use in the rich tapestry of German culture.

In Conclusion

Saying goodbye in German is more than just words; it’s an expression of respect, familiarity, and regional identity. Whether it’s

  • the formal “Auf Wiedersehen,”
  • the casual “Tschüss,”
  • the southern “Servus,”
  • or the northern “Moin, moin,”

each has its place and significance.

As you embark on your language-learning journey, embrace these variations and use them to connect more deeply with the German language and its people. Tschüss!