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What is guten Abend?

If you’re learning German, you’ve likely come across the phrases “guten Morgen,” “guten Tag,” or “guten Abend.” These phrases translate to “good morning,” “good afternoon,” and “good evening,” respectively. But what is guten Abend exactly, and how is it used in German-speaking countries? In this blog post, we’ll explore the meaning and usage of guten Abend.

What does guten Abend mean?

As mentioned, guten Abend directly translates to “good evening.” The word “guten” comes from the adjective “gut,” which means “good,” and “Abend” means “evening.” So, when you say “guten Abend” to someone, you’re essentially wishing them a pleasant evening.

When is it appropriate to use guten Abend?

In German-speaking countries, the dividing line between afternoon and evening is around 6 PM. So, if you’re meeting someone after this time, you would use the greeting “guten Abend” instead of “guten Tag.”

It’s also good to note that, like in English, the appropriate greeting used in different situations may vary based on formality, time of day, and location. In formal settings, such as a business meeting or job interview, you would likely greet someone with “guten Abend” regardless of the time of day. However, in more casual settings like among friends and family, you may opt for a more relaxed greeting.

Alternative Forms of guten Abend

In addition to “guten Abend,” there are some regional variations and alternative forms of the evening greeting in German. Here are a few examples:

– “Schönen Abend” – This is an alternative way to express the same sentiment as “guten Abend.” “Schönen” means “beautiful” or “nice,” so you’re wishing the person a nice evening rather than just a good one.
– “Guten Abend zusammen” – This variation is used when addressing a group of people instead of just one person.
– “Einen schönen Abend noch” – This phrase translates to “have a nice evening” and is often used as a farewell greeting as the speaker is leaving.

Cultural Significance of guten Abend

The use of such greetings is a common custom in German-speaking countries and serves as a way to establish proper social etiquette and show respect. In some regions, it’s considered rude to not greet someone properly even if you don’t know them.

Additionally, in formal settings, such greetings are seen as an essential element of communication and help to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. By using a greeting like guten Abend, you’re acknowledging the other person’s presence and creating a positive environment for dialogue.


In conclusion, guten Abend is a common German greeting used to wish someone a pleasant evening. Understanding when and how to use it can help you navigate social situations in German-speaking countries and show respect to the people you meet. We hope this blog post has been helpful in clarifying the meaning and usage of guten Abend and that you feel more prepared for your next trip or conversation in German.


Do Germans say guten Abend?

Yes, Germans do use the phrase “guten Abend” as a greeting and farewell, particularly after 5 pm when it becomes time for evening activities. The phrase “guten Abend” roughly translates to “good evening” and serves to acknowledge that the daytime activities are drawing to a close, and it is time to relax, socialize, and reconvene for dinner.

In German culture, it is considered polite to greet people with a cordial hello or farewell, regardless of whether they are strangers or close friends. Therefore, “guten Abend” is a common phrase used in both formal and casual situations.

It is worth noting that some Germans may use the phrase “hallo” or “hi” in place of “guten Abend,” particularly in informal settings. However, when addressing someone who is older, more respected, or in a position of authority, using “guten Abend” would be more appropriate to show respect.

In addition to “guten Abend,” Germans also have other phrases they use during different times of the day. For example, “guten Morgen” (good morning) is used in the morning, while “guten Tag” (good day) can be used throughout the day until around 5 pm when “guten Abend” takes over. Once the evening is over and the night arose, one can use “gute Nacht” (good night) to say hi and bye.

“Guten Abend” is a common phrase used by Germans as a greeting and farewell, particularly in the evening after 5 pm. It is polite to use this phrase when addressing older or more respected people in formal settings, although other casual greetings like “hallo” or “hi” are also acceptable in informal situations.

How do Germans say hi?

Germans have various ways of greeting each other, but the most common way of saying “hi” or “hello” in German is “Hallo.” This greeting is widely used in Germany and it is the first one you will learn when you’re starting to learn the German language.

Apart from “Hallo,” there are other ways to say hello in German, depending on the time of the day and the formality of the situation. For instance, in the morning, Germans usually say “Guten Morgen”, which means “Good morning.” Similarly, in the afternoon or evening, they use “Guten Tag” for “Good day” and “Guten Abend” for “Good evening.”

In more formal situations, Germans often use “Grüß Gott” in regions where it is common, which is a religious greeting that means “greet God” or “God bless you.” In other areas, “Grüß dich” or “Grüß Sie” is the common equivalent, which simply means “greetings to you.”

In informal situations, such as meeting friends, Germans may also use “Servus”, which is a more relaxed greeting equivalent to “Hi” or “Hey.” Another informal greeting is “Moin”, which is used in northern Germany, especially around Hamburg and Bremen, and originates from the Low German dialect.

Germans have various ways of saying “hi,” depending on the time of the day, formality of the situation, and even the region in which they are located. “Hallo” is the most common and universal greeting in German, but it’s useful to know the other greetings to fit in more easily in different situations and regions.

What do Germans say before lunch?

When it comes to German mealtime expressions, there are a few common sayings that are used before a meal, particularly before lunch. One of the most common phrases that you may hear is “Guten Appetit,” which translates directly to “Good appetite” in English. This is a phrase that is typically used to wish someone a good meal and is considered mandatory to say before beginning a meal in Germany.

Another phrase that is commonly used before lunch is “Mahlzeit,” which translates to “mealtime” or “good meal” in English. This phrase is typically used in a workplace or office setting when colleagues are on a lunch break together. It can also be used in more casual settings, such as with friends or family members.

In addition to these two sayings, Germans may also use the phrase “zum Wohl” before lunch, which translates to “good health.” This phrase is typically used more in formal settings or when drinking alcohol, but it is sometimes used before meals as well.

It’s worth noting that saying one of these phrases before a meal in German is considered good manners and is seen as a sign of respect. Therefore, if you are dining with German speakers, it’s a good idea to use one of these phrases before digging into your meal.

When it comes to what Germans say before lunch, “Guten Appetit,” “Mahlzeit,” and “zum Wohl” are all common expressions that you may hear. Regardless of which phrase you choose, saying something before a meal is considered good manners and a sign of respect in Germany.