Language Learning

Common Austrian phrases you need to know

Feel like a local in your new home country by learning these common Austrian phrases that are sure to come in handy.

Austrian phrases

Updated 19-4-2024

Although German and English are widely spoken in Austria, it’s still handy to learn a few phrases that are specific to the country. After all, this will help you feel like a local and go a long way when it comes to integrating into the local culture. With this in mind, here are some of the most common Austrian phrases that you are likely to come across in your new home.


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Grüß Gott

Although this literally means “God bless”, this phrase is usually used as a casual greeting in Austria. Think of it as the Austrian equivalent of the German “hallo” or English “hi”. Of all the Austrian phrases you learn, you will need this one the most.


Another casual salutation, this is the informal way of saying goodbye to someone. Where in English you may say “see you soon” or in German, you would use “Tschüss”, you can use this phrase in Austria instead. You may also often hear the phrase “Bussi, Baba!” which basically means “kisses, see you later!”

Woman waving goodbye


This useful multi-faceted phase can be used in the same way that “dude” can in English. It can refer to a guy, but you can also use it to express annoyance, surprise, or disbelief. For example, you can use it the same way that you would say “dude, that’s great!” or “dude, that’s not on”.

(der) Ungustl

Taken from the adjective ungustiös, which translates as “unappetizing”, this Austrian phrase is slang for someone who is not very nice. Usually, you would use this in a casual situation to refer to someone unpleasant or annoying. 


Because this is one of the most varied Austrian phrases, it is a good one to have up your sleeve. This word can be used in both a positive and negative way and therefore has many meanings. For example, depending on the context, you could say “Das ist krass” to mean “that’s awesome” or “that’s awful”. On its own, though, “Krass!” might mean “cool!” or “Whoa”. 

Bist du deppert?

Questioning your friend’s latest madcap adventure or responding to a casual invitation to go diving with sharks? Well then, you will definitely want to use this phrase, which is an Austrian idiom for “are you crazy?”

Are you crazy?

Die Oaschkortn ziagn

This unique idiom literally translates as “to pull the butt card”. Its origins are in football when referees kept their red card (which signals that a player must leave the game because of a foul) in the back pocket of their shorts. In everyday Austrian, though, it means to have bad luck. It is certainly one of the most unique Austrian phrases you could learn.

Auf dem Holzweg

In bucolic Austria, this idiom literally translates as “trotting down the wood”. Figuratively speaking, however, the phrase is used to express that someone is on the wrong track.

Ich glaub ich spinne

In Austrian phrases, spiders (or Spinnen) are referenced figuratively in order to invoke annoyance and irritation. This phrase is essentially the Austrian equivalent of saying “I think I’m going crazy”.


Austria is full of beautiful, well-dressed locals, so you might want to keep this phrase in your back pocket. It means eye-candy. Speaking of which, if you’re single and ready to mingle, you might want to get the lowdown on dating in Austria or try and meet your match with our Expatica Dating site.

Couple walking through the snow on a date


This is perhaps one of the most unpronounceable Austrian phrases you will come across, but if you can attempt it, it is the perfect way to express that someone is a bit of an idiot or not quite the sharpest tool in the shed. 

Du gehst mir auf den Keks

Love cookies? Great – but pay attention to how the word “Kekse” is used. Although it literally means cookies, using the term in this particular phrase means that you are annoying someone. It basically means “you’re getting on my nerves”. 

Annoyed Austrian woman

A Bankl reißen

This expressive Austrian phrase literally means “to tear a bench”. Figuratively speaking, though, locals used this to express just how full they are after enjoying a hearty meal.


This phrase is very useful for the morning after the night before. Literally, it means “repair beer”, which is the equivalent of saying “hair of the dog” in English. However, you can use it to refer to any type of hangover pick-me-up. 

A hungover man lying in bed


This is the Austrian word for a local pub that offers Austrian specialties. Think of this as the equivalent of an Italian trattoria or German Kneipe. You will probably spend a fair amount of time in one, lapping up delicious local Austrian dishes


Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a garden of some description. Instead, it refers to the outdoor setup most restaurants and cafés have on the sidewalk. In fact, there is a whole season for “Schanigarten”, which is usually when the weather cooperates. 

A typical Schanigarten in front of a restaurant in Vienna

Jausn (Jause)

Been enjoying a bar crawl in Vienna and now feel a little peckish? Then you are in need of a Jausn, which in Austria, means a snack. It might be time to indulge in a cheeky Käsekrainer (a thick sausage filled with small chunks of cheese). Hmmm…