I have seen that people use the expression "Mahlzeit" before eating, but I also have heard them use in another occasions, even though I did not understand at the time why.

  • What are the use cases for this expression?
  • Is there any generic translation that works for every occasion?
  • What is the reason for writing it like that? "mal" seems to be a modal particle, with no special meaning, but "Zeit" meant just "time". Not sure what it has to do with "eating".


As mentioned in the comments, I got the spelling wrong. It is "mahlzeit", not "mal zeit". I have updated it in the question.

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    There is a second - ironic - meaning as in Nächste Woche bekommen wir wieder neue Programme auf die Rechner. - Na dann Prost Mahlzeit und viel Spaß damit! According to dict.cc the meaning is 'Good luck, fat chance (of that)!'. Sep 3, 2019 at 9:18
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    Some say it's short (secularized) for the blessing Gesegnete Mahlzeit. Sep 3, 2019 at 9:51
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    Uh... folks, answers, please, not answers in comments! (Unless you see the question as duplicate, which means VTC.)
    – Stephie
    Sep 3, 2019 at 10:12
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    Zeit ist Zeit. Ist Einheit für Gemütlichkeit. Wäre Gemütlichkeit dreitausendsechshundert Sekunden in Zeit, für wieviel Gemütlichkeit bliebe dann Zeit? Zeit plus Zeit ist mehr Zeit. Brot plus Zeit ist Brotzeit. Zeit mal Zeit ist Mahlzeit. Der Maikäfer dreht um den Tisch eine Runde, Du weißt nicht das Jahr, Du kennst nicht die Stunde. Die Kastanie im Biergarten blüht, freue Dich, Du bist auf erdbebensicherem Gebiet. Das ist die Wurzel aus Zeit. Das ist per Saldo - Gemütlichkeit. Sep 3, 2019 at 10:37
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    @LangLangC: Bist Du der Urheber oder Gerhard Polt? Sep 3, 2019 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


Germans often shorten welcome formula by omitting the "Guten" or "Schönen". For example the following ones turn this way:

  • "(Ich wünsche eine) Schöne/Gute Mahlzeit!" => "Mahlzeit!" (Note: It does not work with "Guten Appetit!")
  • "Guten Morgen!" => "Morgen!" ("Morjen" as heavy dialect)
  • "Guten Abend!" => "N'Abend!" ("Namd!" as heavy reduction)
  • "Guten Tag!" => "Tag!" ("Tach!" as dialect)

Your mentioned word "Mal zeit" is a typo. You have heard "Mahlzeit" (engl. "meal").

  • 1
    The insistence on OP making typo is unfounded. It is about reading it, prolly in a mail or text. Haste mal Zeit die Frage zu lesen, oder vielleicht irgendwann mal Zeit was zu essen? Sep 3, 2019 at 10:37
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    Far more often, by design, omitting all but "Gudn". That applies to "Gudn Hunga" as well. Much more than to the utterly nonexistent "Gute Mahlzeit!"? Sep 3, 2019 at 10:44
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    Moin ist nicht kurz für Guten morgen, sondern das plattdeutsche Wort für schön, und damit kurz für Schönen guten Tag. Das spielt zwar sprachgeschichtlich hier keine Rolle, erklärt aber, warum man Moin den ganzen Tag über sagt, nicht nur morgens.
    – Philipp
    Sep 3, 2019 at 10:50
  • @LangLangC I did type it incorrectly. I did mean "mahlzeit". I have corrected it in the question. Sep 3, 2019 at 11:12

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