I've heard the word "Minütchen" being used before verbally, in cases where I though using "Minute" would suffice. Is there a difference between the two? The former is the diminutive form of the latter, but I don't see the difference – a minute is always a minute, nothing more and nothing less.

  • 4
    It's pretty much used in the same way as little minute in English. ("'ll have that done for you in a little minute.")
    – Ingmar
    Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 16:17
  • 14
    Eine Minute dauert 60 Sekunden, ein Minütchen 60 Sekündchen. Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 5:21

2 Answers 2


I do NOT totally agree with DJCrashdummy and therefor write my own answer:

First of all Minütchen is the diminutive of Minute and is used to play down the real time span that something lasts.

Lets take the following dialogue:

Person 1: Do you really need me to wait until you're done?
Person 2: Come on, it will just take a little minute

Person 1: Soll ich wirklich warten, bis Du (endlich) fertig bist?
Person 2: Komm schon, es dauert doch nur ein Minütchen!

In that case it is clear, that it will last more than a minute, until person 2 is really done, but wants to downplay and appease person 1 who is waiting.

So this is a little different from the other answer, as a Minütchen will not be less but rather more then one minute.

  • that's why i pointed out two different cases: sometimes it is used for a inaccurate time span; and on the other hand it is also used to downplay the real time span. -- this does not exclude the combination of both (like in your case). Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 11:31
  • sorry, I personally never heard someone use Minütchen as "less than a minute"... But that might be me... And in the first version of your answer I did not realise your second point to mean "downplay". Like it is now, your answer is more complete, but as I said: I personally don't know your first usage...
    – Tode
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 12:42

Well... from the technical point of view you are right: a minute is a minute and that's it.

On the other hand you can say from a linguistic point of view that there is a difference and it is used in different settings:

  • Inaccurate time span:
    "Minütchen" is sometimes used if you (hope/assume to) need less than a whole minute for something and/or you can't/won't be completely exact.
  • Downplay the real time span:
    also this diminutive form is used (sometimes as plural) to ask for the time of other people, if you want to express it less time than it really is.
  • It is for sure also possible to combine this two cases.
  • 4
    Bottom line: It’s a mere diminutive of Minute and can easily be synonym for a significantly prolonged period of time.
    – dakab
    Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 16:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.