Austrian greetings: Tradition, slang, and ways to say goodbye

Austrian greetings: Tradition, slang, and ways to say goodbye

by Sandra Köktaş

Updated November 7, 2022

Why learn Austrian greetings? First, Austrians speak German. Well, technically. Germans and Austrians speak and even more so write a High German that is very much alike and goes back to the West Germanic language as the common origin. Still, in daily life, terms and expressions can be surprisingly different. Historical influences and regional peculiarities shape the spoken language in a way that can make it hard to understand even for their German neighbors. Add a love for ambiguity and Austrians’ unique sense of humor for an added twist. If you want to blend in with the locals and experience Austrian life and culture first-hand, knowing a few Austrian greetings will help.

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Moagn – Good morning.

If you happen to be up and about before 10 am, you can greet everyone you meet with a German Guten Morgen, or the shorter Morgen. You could also go the cultural extra mile and say hello in Austrian slang: Moagn. Maybe listen a few times before you give it a try. The pronunciation can be challenging.

Servus – Hello

Servus is a Latin word for a slave. It translates to the archaic your servant, a suitable greeting some hundred years ago. The Latin word for slave, astonishingly enough, made its way to a rather informal way of saying hello in Austria today. 

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Griaß di – Hello there

Just as informal and frequently used among family and friends is Griaß di, which translates to hello or hello there.The plural to this is Griaß enk/Griaß eich. It’s also a friendly way to say hello to fellow hikers you might meet on one of the many beautiful trails in Austria.

Grüß Gott – God’s greeting

The religiously inspired Grüß Gott is a more traditional way of saying hello. Although old-fashioned, it is still commonly used as a more formal greeting.

Ways to say goodbye in the Austrian language

Servus is not only an informal way to say hello you can also use it to say goodbye in Austrian German. Priat di and Pfiat di are also a charming way to say bye. In a formal context, you would use the German Auf Wiedersehen or, with an Austrian touch, Auf Wiederschauen.

Hello and goodbye in Austrian German

Austrian greetings differ from German greetings in many ways. There are several ways to say hello in the Austrian tradition and just as many to say goodbye, each for formal and informal situations. A hello in Austrian slang is easy to learn and will win you the hearts of your Austrian friends.

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Sandra lives in Istanbul, together with her kids, cat and dog. As a historian she thrives exploring this ancient city with her two- and four-legged loved ones. Together, they also love to go on adventures through all of Turkey and its neighboring countries. The perfect opportunity to put all the language learning into practice. If she’s not on the road, Sandra is busy putting her experiences into writing as a freelance copywriter for the travel industry and everything related to language, culture and family. Her particular interest lies in providing information on animal welfare with her website

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