At the end of each day, you have to bid your pals farewell and get yourself some well-earned rest.
You might already be familiar with “Gute Nacht”, the direct translation for “goodnight” in German, but you may want to mix it up when you leave your companions for the night.
The way you say good night in English usually depends on the company you are in, but, if you are saying goodnight in German then it also changes depending on which German-speaking country you find yourself in!
To make sure you have it covered regardless of where you are traveling, we have gathered 10 ways to say good night in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
By the time we are done, you will be confident and capable enough to go beyond a simple “Gute Nacht” when the sun goes down!
Good Night in German – An Overview
|Gute Nacht||Goodnight||Germany, Switzerland, Austria|
|Ich wünsche dir eine gute Nacht||I wish you a good night||Germany, Switzerland, Austria|
|Schlaf gut||Sleep well||Germany, Switzerland, Austria|
|Schlaf schön||Sleep tight||Germany, Switzerland, Austria|
|Träum schön||Sweet dreams||Germany, Switzerland, Austria|
|Schlof Guät||Sleep well||Switzerland|
|Guäts Nachtli!||Good night-y!||Switzerland|
|Pfuus Guet||Sleep well||Switzerland|
|Guad eid Nocht!||I wish all of you a good night!||Austria|
Ways to Say Goodnight in German
As our intro indicated we have broken today’s article into three sections.
First, we will take you through a selection of German phrases for “goodnight” and then we will move on to some Swiss and Austrian alternatives that you might come across.
Saying Good Night in Germany
The most commonly used phrase that you are going to hear will, of course, be “Gute Nacht”!
It comes from ancient proto-germanic language as does the English phrase “good night” therefore the two are super similar and it should be easy to remember.
You can expand the phrase like this if you are saying goodnight to a housemate or colleague you will see the following morning;
- “Gute Nacht, bis morgen früh!”
- “Good night, until tomorrow morning!”
Ich wünsche dir eine gute Nacht
This next option is a little longer and more formal. But don’t be tempted to shy away from giving it a go, it is very commonly used!
“Ich wünsche dir eine gute Nacht” is the longer version of “Gute Nacht” and essentially means “I wish you a good night”.
“Nacht” simply means “night” and is also regularly used. We typically shorten goodnight informally with people we know well.
Germans, however, use it as an impersonal version often with those that they don’t know well, like co-workers. Have a look at it in use;
- “Nacht, wir sehen uns beim Treffen.”
- “Night, I’ll see you at the meeting.”
“Sleep well” is a phrase we might use to change things up a bit when saying goodnight to family members. The German equivalent is “Schlaf gut”. It is considered informal but you can make it a little more respectable by saying “Schlafen Sie gut”, the formal conjugation of the verbs in use.
Here’s an example Sentence:
- “Schlaf gut, du hast morgen Schule!”
- “Sleep well, you have school tomorrow!”
A further variation on the above would be “schlaf schön”, which translates literally as “sleep nicely” and is used much like we would use “sleep tight”.
It is probably best reserved for people you have a personal relationship with. Those in your house rather than those of a house you are leaving as a guest, but again you could say “Schlafen Sie schön”.
“Traum” is the German word for dream, so you can probably guess this is the equivalent of “sweet dreams”.
The pleasant sugary edge makes it a great choice if you are looking for an informal way to say goodnight in german that shows personal concern and care.
If you are invited to someone’s home for the evening, it’s perfect for addressing young children when they leave adult presence to go to bed too!
- “Es ist Zeit zu schlafen, Träume schön!”
- “It’s time to sleep, sweet dreams!”
Saying Good night in Switzerland
Your first Swiss option is as simple as a vowel shift! More like a regional dialect than anything else, it comes from the German expression “Schlaf gut” that we taught you above.
This next one is essentially the same too! Can you guess which German expression it is?
It is a variation of “Gute Nacht” but the addition of the “i” at the end makes it considerably more cutesy.
You could compare it to “nighty-night”.
Again one of the big differences in Swiss-German is the difference in the diphthong of “guet” compared to the monophthong of “gut”.
Although we can’t trace where the ‘Pfuus’ became related to sleep the phrase “Pfuus Guet” is another way to say “Sleep well” in modern Swiss-German!
In regular Germany, the word is onomatopoeic and is like “Ugh”, which one could argue is a sleepy, yawny sound of sorts.
Saying Good Night in Austria
In Austria they will use the majority of the German expressions we have already gone over, we only have one to add!
Guad eich Nocht!
“Guad eich Nocht!” is a nice Austrian phrase to learn for when you are saying farewell to a group of people. It translates to “I wish all of you a good night!”.
Here‘s an example of how it is used;
- Guad eich Nocht, bis morgen!
- Good night you guys, I’ll see you tomorrow!
Good Night in German – Final Thoughts
We hope you have found a few useful phrases here today whether you are a total beginner or not!
If you are sure that have them all down or are intermediate, why not try mixing and matching some of them?
Choose a couple of expressions and see if you can get the sentence structure right. “Ich wünsche dir eine gute Nacht, träum schön!” is a great example!
Don’t get bogged down by the Austrian and Swiss on top, they are German-speaking countries and will understand everything we shared in our ‘how to say “goodnight” in German section’ anyway!
Until next time…