When someone is being impatient, in English you could say "please be patient", "just a moment please" or even the slight slang of "hang on." What is the equivalent in German?

I know you can say "einen Moment, bitte"; but does that really convey the equivalent of "be patient"? Or is that quite literally "one moment, please"?

Is there a German slang equivalent to "hang on"?


There are, as in English, various ways of expressing this.

  • Einen Moment, bitte or einen Augenblick, bitte -- this is absolutely common, sufficiently polite and probably the exact counterpart to One moment, please. You'd say that at the phone if you need to look up something. It's rather neutral, you don't indicate you are feeling pushed (you may add that effect by e.g. raising your voice)
  • Etwas (mehr) Geduld, bitte or Haben Sie bitte etwas mehr Geduld-- this is what you'd say to someone who is trying to push you a little when you want to ask him (politely) to allow for more time. Still polite, but you indicate you are feeling pushed (a bit) and possibly even that you don't like it. It's more the be patient variant. Ich möchte Sie um etwas mehr Geduld bitten is the same but even more formal.
  • hang on: this I would probably translate as 'Sekunde (one single word, meaning wart' mal 'ne Sekunde, which you could also say. Warten Sie mal eine Sekunde could be used in a more formal context (office)).Alternatives are Augenblick, Augenblick mal (same thing as Sekunde), Moment, usage of diminutives is common, too: Momentchen, Sekündchen. Less formal, but not really slang.
  • immer mit der Ruhe is what you could say if someone is going to panic or is beginning to push hard. This may be perceived as colloquial, depending on who says it and who is adressed. (You did not ask for that one :-).

The list could be continued.

  • 2
    What a complete answer. – user508 Dec 26 '11 at 20:28
  • Wow, thank you for that detailed explanation. – Aaron Dec 27 '11 at 13:25

Some more variants to continue the list from the answer by Thomas:

  • Gleich is often said if you are busy at the moment and don't want to be distracted in order to finish what you are doing. Is more or less colloquial, but rather polite. I often use it with my 4 years old son.

  • Warte mal! or just "Warte!", if this is really just some seconds, for example there are just 30 seconds left and your football team is about to win the game...

  • Hang on! can be more or less directly translated while speaking on phone as Hängen Sie nicht ein!, Legen Sie bitte nicht auf! or Bleiben Sie am Apparat!, and even Bleiben Sie dran!, depending upon the situation and your taste.

  • It is normal here to edit other people's posts if we think it helps. I edited your post to make it easier to read, but reserved the original meaning. You can revert it to your old version if you disagree. – user508 Dec 29 '11 at 7:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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