I often hear "dann treffen wir uns gegen 8 Uhr irgendwo". How precise is this? Is it ±5 min or ±10 min or does it depend on the situation?

Are there other words which means "approximately at eight", but are either less precise or more precise?

2 Answers 2


It depends on the persons and situation.

In my opinion it is around ±5 min or ±10 min and it sounds to me if a group is meeting before 8 (maybe somewhere in the city or at an event) and the other person will join them later but without any fixed time

  • More precise: genau um 8. Less precise: irgendwann um 8, um 8 Uhr herum, ab 8 Aug 9, 2011 at 11:32
  • 10
    Note: the question if "gegen 8 Uhr" is always before 8 o'clock has been heavily discussed on various sites. Some argue that it's always before 8, others say it can be before or after 8. Aug 9, 2011 at 11:34
  • 1
    I'm not so sure about the "always before" meaning. Although IMO the period which is accepted "after" a certain point of time is certainly shorter: You don't want to let people wait for you. As a rule of thumb: -10/+5 minutes.
    – 0x6d64
    Aug 9, 2011 at 12:35
  • @0x6d4: that's exactly my point: there is no generally accepted interpretation. Some people are very sure that it's "always before" while others say "it's -10/+5" (or something similar) and a few say "it's ±10". Aug 9, 2011 at 12:49
  • normally you divide the hour in 4 quarter so i assume maximal ±5 min as ok, 10 min is too close to 8h15min ... whats the point of saying "gegen 8 Uhr" at all when youre are not allowed to come later than 8?
    – Hauser
    Aug 10, 2011 at 1:36

It means around, about or towards the time. It's a rough time with some minutes tolerance, not important after the mentioned time or before it. (as therealmarv has answered) it depends on the person.


Other words which means "approximately at eight" (less to more precise*):

  • so gegen acht Uhr
  • ungefähr um acht Uhr
  • gegen acht Uhr
  • etwa um acht Uhr
  • um acht Uhr oder so

If you mean the precise time you would say:

  • um acht Uhr
  • um genau acht/ genau um acht
  • um Punkt acht Uhr

* : it's hard for the first five or so entries in the list to determine which one is more precise. At least colloquially, they can all mean the same.

  • 1
    +1 Gigili, this is nice addition to the previous answer, but I still accept the other one since it answers the question more directly.
    – Stovner
    Aug 11, 2011 at 8:52

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