11 ways to say bye in German

11 ways to say bye in German

by Leona Quigley

Updated June 8, 2022

“So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye!” There are so many ways to say adieu in every language and the same is true of German. When there are so many options it is important that you choose the right Verabschiedung (farewell) for any situation. Here are just a few ways you can take your leave from friends, acquaintances and colleagues in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in both formal and informal settings so that you depart while leaving the best impression you can.

1. Tschüss – “Bye”
2. Tschau – “Bye”
3. Viel Spaß – “Have fun”
4. Bis bald / Bis später – “See you soon / later”
5. Schönen Tag noch – “Have a great day”
6. Wir sehen uns / Man sieht sich – “We’ll see each other (again)”
7. Mach‘s gut – “Take care”
8. Gute Nacht – “Good night”
9. Auf Wiedersehen – “Until we see each other again”
10. Auf Wiederhören – “Until we hear each other again”
11. Servus – “Goodbye” (Southern Germany and Austria)

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1. Tschüss – “Bye”

Tschüss is the most common way to say “bye” in German, whether you are seeing off a friend, a work colleague or your in-laws, tschüss is one of the most useful basic German phrases you need to know. However, it is not appropriate in formal business settings where the more formal Auf Wiedersehen is the normal greeting on departure.

2. Tschau – “Bye”

Tschau or ciao is roughly equivalent to tschüss. Although the phrase used to be more common in Austria and the south of Germany than in the north, it can now be heard everyday throughout the German speaking world . Tschau stems from the Italian ciao, but unlike in Italy Germans don’t normally use this phrase as a greeting, rather only as a departing farewell. 

3. Viel Spaß – “Have fun!”

This is a warm way to send off your friends or family if they are heading off for an outing or on holidays.

4. Bis bald / Bis später – “See you soon / later”

This is a nice casual way to say “see you soon / later!” You can follow bis with morgen (tomorrow), Montag (Monday), nächste Woche (next week) or any other time or date when you hope to see that person again!

5. Schönen Tag noch – “Have a great day”

You will undoubtedly hear this most often from store clerks when you’ve finished your shopping, although it is, of course, used in many other contexts. Be ready to respond with a cheerful: “Danke gleichfalls,” meaning “the same to you.”

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6. Wir sehen uns / Man sieht sich – “See you around” or “see ya”

This is quite a casual way to depart, so it is a handy way to end a conversation with your friends but not very appropriate in formal settings.

7. Mach‘s gut – “Take care”

You can add this to one of the other ways to say goodbye to add a little warmth to your parting, for example: “Bis Dienstag. Mach’s gut!” 

8. Gute Nacht – “Goodnight”

This is how you would most commonly say goodnight in Germany. It is used late in the day when one of you is heading to bed. Earlier in the evening you might say “Guten Abend”, but be careful as this means “hello” or “good evening” and not “goodnight” or “goodbye”. 

9. Auf Wiedersehen – “Until we see each other again”

This is one of the first phrases you will learn in German class, however in recent years it has begun to be used less frequently outside of formal situations. It is relatively uncommon among young people, who prefer the shorter tschüss or tschau. Nevertheless, it’s always a good go-to for talking to new acquaintances, older people and colleagues. It is often shortened to Wiedersehen, which can be said in an upbeat sing-along tone with emphasis on the last syllable. 

10. Auf Wiederhören – “Until we hear each other again”

This phrase is roughly equivalent to Auf Wiedersehen but is only used when speaking on the phone. ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ means that, having just seen somebody, you are hoping to see them again in the future. But if you’re on the phone, you can’t see them, so you say you hope to hear them again. It is a formal expression, generally only used these days in an office or customer service setting.

11. Servus – “Goodbye” (Southern Germany and Austria)

Servus can be used as a friendly greeting to say hello as well as goodbye to someone. It is widely used in the south of Germany and in Austria but not in the north of Germany. It comes from the Latin servus (at your service).

Tschau for now

Beyond these handy phrases there are of course many regional variations in use and spelling, as well as entirely distinct ways to say farewell. That is not to mention the ever-developing lexicon of German slang. Whether you’re in the streets of Berlin or rural Bavaria, there is no need to make an Irish goodbye when you know so many ways to make a German one. 

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Leona has her roots in the South of Ireland, where she grew up on her family farm. She went on to study World Politics at Leiden University College, The Hague and then completed her MPhil in International History at Trinity College Dublin. Leona has now settled in Berlin, having fallen in love with the city. In her spare time she is working on perfecting her German in anticipation of her doctoral studies, during which she plans to study modern German social history. Her hobbies include bouldering, dancing and reading a healthy mix of history books and corny fantasy fiction. You can find more info about her on LinkedIn.

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