I know that the word Bitte can have many different meanings. When translating Bitteschön into English word for word however, it makes no sense at all.

My question thus is where does this expression come from? Why 'Please nice/ Please beautiful'?

  • 4
    @elena is right :) "schön", like "pretty" in English, is not only an adjective that qualifies the beauty of something but also is an intensifier in the sense of "very". That is, "bitte schön" == "bitte sehr". That's all.
    – Em1
    Sep 30, 2013 at 14:54
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    What about: "Er ist ganz schön verliebt". "Ganz schön frech, der Kleine" "Da hst du mir aber einen schönen Schrecken eingejagt" "Du bist ja schon schön blöd" "Ich musste mich ganz schön anstrengen"
    – Em1
    Sep 30, 2013 at 15:33
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    Please note: help/privileges/comment --> How to Answer.
    – Takkat
    Sep 30, 2013 at 18:11
  • 2
    "Schöne Scheiße!"
    – Raphael
    Jun 30, 2014 at 14:53
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    Curiously, 'pretty please' exists.
    – Suthek
    Aug 16, 2019 at 8:46

4 Answers 4


Bitteschön is just the logical counterpart of Dankeschön which has derived as short form from Ich danke dir/euch schön, and that means I thank you very much. Schön is an adverb here in the sense of very.

Schön is a typical form of politeness. Examples: Er sollte Sie schön darum bitten / Ich danke Ihnen schön / Ein Dankeschön sagen, or antiqued: Habt (schönen) Dank!.

  • Note that in common usage, "bitteschön" ("here you go") is not a stronger form of "bitte" ("please").
    – Raphael
    Jun 30, 2014 at 14:50
  • @Raphael: you're wrong. 2 Cases: "Bitte(schön), hier hast du es!" and "Kannst du mir bitte(schön) mal sagen, warum ...?"; both ones emphasize the sentence.
    – äüö
    Jul 4, 2014 at 7:50

schön does emphasize somthing like very, pretty, and quite (compare also Bitte sehr!)

It is used as such not just in Bitteschön and Dankeschön.

Das war ganz schön abenteuerlich.
eine schöne Summe
Dort ist es schön ruhig.


I have recently been learning German and I can say, that I have been told by a German, that "bitte schon" is simply "beautiful manners".

It can also be used after "hier" to make "hier, bitte schön" which, as some people have pointed out, is here you go.

It is in this case not an exaggerator and is simply a polite way of telling someone they have "schön" manners. Which I suppose doubles as a "you're welcome".

This does not mean that "schon" is never an exaggerator, as given in the phrase "danke schön" which is "you're very welcome." "Bitte, bitte" may also be used as a "you're welcome"-ish phrase. It's kind of like "oh please! No need to thank me" kinda thing. Hence "please, please!"

That was pure speculation as it could also be "pleased to please you", which is also a guess.


If you speak English, you should be familiar with the expression: "pretty please". It is exactly this just in German. It is a very polite way of saying please.


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