If I receive a call for my friend and he/she is sitting beside me, what should I say in German? In English, I'd say:

Just hold on while I give him/her the receiver.


Just hold on, I'll give him/her the receiver.

  • 1
    Although the question seems to be off-topic in its current shape, I think the topic is worth the answers since the prevalent idioms for handing over a receiver are different in English and German: In the English phrase as quoted by Shah the receiver is given, the German idioms (given in the answers below) the calling person or the called person are given to each other.
    – Chris
    Aug 1, 2014 at 15:50

5 Answers 5


Although you are not passing the caller himself but the receiver, you'd say something like "Moment, ich gebe dich/Sie weiter".

In a call center or wherever a telephone system is used, you would say "Ich stelle dich/Sie durch" before dialing the call-through number.


jp-jee proposed the phrase:

Moment, ich gebe dich/Sie weiter.

Here, the calling person is "given" to the called person. Another variant is to interchange who is given to whom:

Moment, ich geb' sie/ihn dir/Ihnen.

Here, the called person (accusative, sie=fem./ihn=male) is "given" to the calling person (dative, dir=familiar/Ihnen=polite). In my opinion this variant is more common than the first one.


If the person is sitting beside you, you can say:

  • Warten Sie kurz, ich gebe ihm/ihr den Hörer. (formal, literal translation)

  • Warte kurz, ich geb' ihm/ihr den Hörer. (informal, literal)

  • Ich gebe ihn/sie Ihnen (gleich). (another formal variant)

  • Ich geb' ihn dir (gleich). (informal)

In my opinion, "ich gebe Dich/Sie weiter" would also be used in some bigger institution's telephone network, like "ich stelle Sie durch", "ich leite Sie weiter" and "ich verbinde Sie gleich mit ihm/ihr".


The word you're looking for is "der (Telefon)hörer". The literal translation is "the listener", but in context of telephones it was the word for the "bone".

Ich lege den Hörer auf.
I put down the receiver.

Ich nehme den Hörer ab.
I pick up the receiver/the phone.

The most literal translation of your sentence would be:

Ich gebe ihr/ihm den Hörer.

And people do say that even with wireless phones that have a base station somewhere. For a cell phone. There, you would just pass on the "Handy". The suggestions of the other answers are fine as well.

Prove for the phrase being used millions of times in various registers:

  • 1
    Uhm... why is there a downvote, exactly? Explanation please
    – Emanuel
    Aug 1, 2014 at 18:27
  • I figure it's because your answer is missing the actual point of an idiomatic translation. It's just a literal translation, that is nowhere near idiomatic... you could compare it to a translation: "another one bites the dust" -->"ein andererer beißt den Staub". It's correct and yet isn't
    – Vogel612
    Aug 1, 2014 at 23:41
  • Äh @Vogel612 ... nowhere near idiomatic?? Sorry, but you're just wrong about that. The stupid Apple browser won't parse the links correctly so I added them to the answer. Please check them out. Ob du das kennst oder nicht... es gibt Millionen Beispiele dafür. Das ist wohl für dein Vergleichsbespiel eher nicht so ;)
    – Emanuel
    Aug 2, 2014 at 17:47
  • Das Problem an der sache ist, dass "Ich gebe den Hörer weiter" etwas völlig anderes ist als "Ich gebe dich weiter". Das Eine beschreibt die Handlung, das Andere ist eine "Warnung", die nur im gesprochenen Sinn macht. Wenn du weiter diskutieren willst, Ping mich im German Language Chat an. Nochmal: Ich habe dich nicht gedownvoted...
    – Vogel612
    Aug 3, 2014 at 12:56

Another informal variant, beside the ones already given:

Ich reich' Dich rüber.

Best fitting when your friend is sitting across the table, but can be used in the general case as well.

  • @ Matthias I have heard like this. So it can be 'ich reich Ihnen (the person calling) rüber. But where is the person to whom i 'm giving telephone set.
    – Shah
    Aug 4, 2014 at 11:52
  • @Shah 1. It's a bit informal, so be careful using it with persons that you are adressing Sie/Ihnen instead of Du/Dir. With "Ihnen" it sounds like mixing levels of formality (at least for me). 2. Your version is adressing the person next to you, while mine is directed towards the person calling. Both is possible, but for me, the latter is more common. 3. It doesn't really matter where the person you are giving the receiver is set. (The caller can't see it anyway.) "rüber" is colloquial "across". If you think it doesn't fit for a certain setting, you can always use "(mal) weiter" instead.
    – Matthias
    Aug 4, 2014 at 20:22

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