I have a question regarding the German word Halli-Hallo.

Wann benutzen wir dieses Wort:


  • 5
    According to Duden it is especially geared toward calling attention to yourself. So it’s colloquial, seldom used, playful and attention grabbing. It seem to have no origin in a different term (like hallali in hunting) besides being playful with Similiar sounding Hallo.
    – eckes
    Feb 21, 2021 at 8:28
  • I'm familiar with "Es herrscht ein grosses Halli-Hallo" too. It's probably regional. Aug 18, 2021 at 12:49

3 Answers 3


Halli Hallo is a joyful informal expression to greet someone. The Halli does not have any special meaning. I think it's very rarely used, especially among adults. Children might use it more often.

If you use it with your (German) friends, you will likely get a laugh as a response, because it sounds funny and foreigners are not really expected to know this expression, so this can catch them by surprise :)

You should never use this in a formal environment (and be cautious in a professional one). It is not impolite or offensive, but Halli Hallo is the wrong register of speech. People might take you less seriously if you use this. For instance in English, you wouldn't say "see you later, alligator" in a formal meeting.

  • 23
    Maybe you can compare "halli hallo" to English greetings like "yoo hoo", "howdy", "hidy ho" and the like - very informal, very playful if not childisch. Feb 20, 2021 at 15:48
  • 6
    I would add that register is a personal choice as well as a cultural norm and is influenced by the speaker's personality, friends and family. There are people who always say "Howdy" instead of of "Hello", and others who talk like Wikipedia most of the time. My advice is that if you have to ask then stick with the most neutral register possible.
    – RDBury
    Feb 21, 2021 at 1:29
  • 2
    Is this what Ned Flanders says in the German dub of The Simpsons? Feb 21, 2021 at 12:53
  • 3
    Very good answer. I'd just add that "Halli Hallo" is not "very rarely used". Several of my friends (in their early and late 20s) use it, and they don't particularly stand out by doing so. Feb 21, 2021 at 17:52
  • 3
    Die Empfehlung die Phrase nicht im beruflichen Umfeld zu benutzen trifft nur auf formale, berufliche Umfelder zu, und ist daher mit diesen schon abgefrühstückt. Es gibt sehr viele berufliche Umfelder, in denen der Begriff, der auch beschreibend benutzt wird ("Es herrschte ein großes Halli-Hallo."), vollkommen in Ordnung ist. Feb 22, 2021 at 13:48

In addition to infinitezero's accurate answer, let me add some practical experiences of this expression, which should also be an answer to joki3's comment above.

A few years ago, my German teacher came to my place of work, where we had 1 hour of German instruction in a classroom setting. She would invariably enter the room with a "Halli Hallo", which most of us never had heard at the start. It was explained to us, that it was indeed a very informal, playful greeting and not for formal settings. I do think her use of the phrase was very wise, because it was a trigger for us to forget our daily work and routine for a while and be a bit more playful and open for learning. No surprise, we started to use it amongst ourselves in class and occassionally amongst each other, when not in meetings. e.g. at the coffee machine or meeting in the corridor.

This could be compared to hearing "yoo hoo" from very well acquainted colleagues as a greeting before a meeting or to really get some attention during a meeting. I have heard this kind of thing very very rarely.


Let me offer the following popular children's rhyme as one more example to show that it is not a "serious" expression of greeting :

(in a sing-song voice)


Wer sitzt am Klo

Der Krampus und der Nikolo

(it's about two figures of children's folklore sitting on the toilet)

  • 4
    Austrian folklore, to be precise. :)
    – henning
    Feb 22, 2021 at 8:23

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