German word of the day: Servus

Nele Schröder
Nele Schröder - [email protected]
German word of the day: Servus
Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Today’s word of the day is widely used in Austria - and one of the first newcomers to the country should learn.


Servus is a general, friendly way of greeting someone – so it can be used for saying hello as well as for saying good-bye. The roots of this greeting date far back; it comes from the Latin word servus, which means “slave” or “servant.”

So if someone greets you with Servus, it roughly translates to “I’m your servant” or “At your service!”

In Austria and in wide parts of southern Germany, it’s quite common to greet people with a hearty “Servus!”

But this notion is actually spread even further – it is a traditional greeting in wide parts of Central Europe. Servus, or slight variations of the word, are used also in Poland, Croatia, Hungary and Romania, to name a few.

Usually, servus is a colloquial way of greeting people you know better, especially friends. It is also one of the few historical words that is widely used amongst teenagers.

Servus has another meaning as well, though: If you hear someone say “Na servus,” that usually means that they are surprised, but in a disapproving way.



Servus, lieber Freund.

Hello dear friend.

Servus miteinander!

Hello everyone.



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Anonymous 2019/10/04 15:10
Wow, that video gave me a headache. I never knew Bavarian was so different to standard Deutsch. So, if I move there, will people be able to understand and reply if I speak standard Deutsch?

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