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Exploring German Ways to Say "Enjoy Your Meal" or "Bon Appétit"

Sharing meals is a cherished tradition, and expressing good wishes before a meal is a common courtesy in German culture. Similar to the French "Bon appétit," Germans have several phrases to convey well wishes for a delicious and enjoyable meal. Let's delve into the various ways to say "Enjoy your meal" in German, along with the grammar behind these expressions.



How to say enjoy your meal in German


  1. Guten Appetit:

  • "Guten Appetit" is the most commonly used phrase to wish someone a good appetite in German.

  • The phrase translates directly to "Good appetite" in English.

  • It is a straightforward and polite way to express well wishes before someone begins their meal.

  • Grammar: "Guten" is the accusative form of "gut" (good), and "Appetit" is a masculine noun in the accusative case. Learn more about adjective declensions in German in another post.

  1. Mahlzeit:

  • Another common expression used in German-speaking countries is "Mahlzeit."

  • This phrase is often used in workplace or casual settings and can be used at any time of the day, not just before lunch or dinner.

  • "Mahlzeit" literally translates to "mealtime" or "meal," and the phrase serves as both a greeting and a wish for a good meal.

  • Grammar: "Mahlzeit" is a compound noun composed of "Mahl" (meal) and "Zeit" (time). It functions as a standalone expression, similar to "Guten Appetit."

  1. Lass es dir schmecken:

  • A slightly more informal but equally common way to wish someone a good meal is "Lass es dir schmecken."

  • This phrase translates to "Let it taste good for you" or "Enjoy it" in English.

  • It is a friendly and personal way to convey good wishes before someone starts eating.

  • Grammar: "Lass" is the imperative form of the verb "lassen" (to let), "es" is the accusative pronoun for "it," and "dir" is the dative pronoun for "you." "Schmecken" is the infinitive form of the verb "schmecken" (to taste) and it is one of several dative verbs in German that need to be memorised.

  1. Guten Hunger:

  • "Guten Hunger" is another expression used to wish someone a good appetite, particularly before a meal.

  • Translating to "Good hunger" in English, this phrase is straightforward and expresses the hope that the person enjoys their meal.

  • Grammar: Similar to "Guten Appetit," "Guten" is the accusative form of "gut" (good), and "Hunger" is a masculine noun in the accusative case.


In German-speaking countries, sharing meals is an important social and cultural activity. Whether you're dining with friends, family, or colleagues, knowing how to express good wishes before a meal adds a touch of politeness and warmth to the dining experience. From the traditional "Guten Appetit" to the informal "Lass es dir schmecken," each phrase carries its own charm and conveys the desire for a delicious and enjoyable meal. So, the next time you sit down to eat, don't forget to say "Guten Appetit" or one of these other delightful expressions!


On my German language blog, you'll find several related posts, such as how to order a meal in German, popular German dishes, and how to say good morning, afternoon or evening in German.


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