"MoinMoin" is a common Frisian expression, "Moin" meaning "(Good) Day", and "MoinMoin" being an emphasis, i.e. "A Very Good Day" or "Top of the morning to you!". The name was obviously choosen for its WikiWikiNess.
"Moin" is a contraction of LowGerman "moien" meaning nothing else than 'good'. the complete expression could be "moien dag" ('good day') or "moien avend"('good evening') or something similar. so "moin" and "moinmoin" are not only contractions of the original word but also contractions of the whole expression.
Concerning the use, the information given below is roughly accurate. In Northern Germany (where I live), it is common to greet by saying "moin" (often pronounced "mohoin" in a singing voice) receiving the answer "moinmoin" (but it is also possible the other way round). -- email@example.com
Moin is derived from lower German "moi" = good.
"Moïen" is Luxembourgeois / Lëtzebuergesch for "hello" - at any time of the day! Lëtzebuergesch is a middle Franconian Germanic language, which is a form of middle German rather than "platt". RobinBenn
We may soon be sure what it means because it maybe added to the German Duden as i read in today's newspaper. Our Newspaper does not have the article online but i found a snippet in another (better) one: "Moin moin" soll in den Duden --PatrickGuenther
The previous link also no longer works, but I found an article here: Genialer Gruß mit vier bis acht Buchstaben There is also a press release from the Institut für niederdeutsche Sprache in Bremen, german only and in PDF format. But why wait for the Duden when the wikipedia already has an article on Moin --JorgCassens
Someone from Hamburg said: Hamburgers don't talk platt, they talk "Missingsch" (I suppose that means something like Falschgold). BTW Moin is for "muien dag". Only the people from Prussia thought, that it should have something to do with "Guten Morgen", but that's history meanwhile. muien dag ook! --GuntherWüsthoff
Tach is even shorter. Moin is derived from "muien tach", moin moin just duplicates the phrase, that is very common in China too.
Seen from a very special mid german point of view (the "Ruhrie"-Dialect), which is a melting pot of all possible dialects of all languages around germany (with huge slawian influences), the term "moin moin" would be immediately classified as an offensive threat (like 'gülle gülle'), so a typical "Ruhrie" will demand an immediate translation into normal German or he would give a typical answer, being a direct slam into the face. The best translation in this form of danger would be "N'Tach", which works the whole day.
This Prussian confusion may be explained by the Berlin way to pronounce "Guten Morgen" as "Juten Morjen", but most of the time it's shortened to "Morj'n", with the 'r' almost not pronounce, so that it comes very close to "Moin". --> crap! moin is not used in Berlin
Moin! Actually 'Missingsch' stands for brass in english ('Messing' in german). Brass is a mix of different materials like copper etc. So Missingsch is sort of slang in Hamburg, mixing official german language with so called Platt language from the country- and sea-sides of northern Germany. The reference to 'morning' is not all too wrong here, because many of the Platt-expressions are relevants to the english and scandinavian languages, but in fact it is used by the meanings of 'good' AND of 'morning'(or if you like 'wind' or 'fresh' wich are the roots for 'morning'), and used in that way it stands for wishing someone 'a good one(day or morning)'.
'Moinmoin' is therefore NOT used for wishing a very good day, it's simply the whole phrase (good day, good morning). If you like to use 'moin', you can do this at any occasion in any form, if you use 'moinmoin' it must not be murmured, but spoken out clearly, and best with a touch of irony to it. This is because it - in some areas - will be understood as 'Kiss my ass', not actually that harsh, but more close to 'leave me alone'. But don't fear, it's not really aggressing someone. People here are letting everyone live and speak like he wishes...
But anyways you don't have to know the greeted person personally.
If you do not want to greet someone but say goodbye, you may use the word "Tschüs" which is the counterpart of Moin. See Tschüs
Mmmmh , seems that I can enrich so more info: "Moin" has the meaning of "Good Morning" but it is spoken under murmur like "mornin'" although the Syllable is too short alone, so it is spoken twice. If you shorten "Good Morning" with "morn'" it has the same effect with "morn'morn'". --Thomas Alblesi
Not exactly true: moinmoin is spoken fast as one word, but not neccesarily murmured. And, again, it does not relate to the daytime and therefore does not mean 'good morning' but simply 'hello'. Whether one ore two 'moin' are being used is simply a matter of style -compare to the Danish 'hej hej'. --Martin
We use it all day in the south too. I always thought it just morphed from a morning greeting to an all-day one. -- JürgenHermann
O.K. but we, those people around Frankfurt/Main, say Hello -quiet similar- as "Guude", means "guten..." (Tag, Morgen, Abend). -- KMW
Interesting. I always get puzzled looks from southerners when I use it in the evening. My wife - who speaks more Plattdeutsch than me - once explained to me, that MoinMoin originated in "Moi Dag" or "Moin Dag", which just means "Good day". I don't know whether the people were too lazy or just mumbled too much, anyway it degenerated into "Moin" or in its emphasized form "MoinMoin".
The whole thing gets more complicated since there are so many different flavors of Plattdeutsch. Someone from Hamburg might have a hard time understanding someone from the coast.-- MarkoSchulz
Sure. Here in Oldenburg we use it all-day and if somebody uses MoinMoin quite sure somebody else will ask him not to use it because in our Area it is another way of saying "Leck mich am Arsch" - i don't know how to translate it... -- PatrickGuenther (Leck mich..) translates to Kiss my ass. Well lick literally, but kiss is what we'd say.--dave, who spent two years in Sachsen and heard it often enough. :-)
Oddly enough almost everyone would say Moin Moin in Oldenburg without meaning "kiss my ass". It is basically a greeting and it's meaning is of course connected to the tone it is used in. Basically, since it is an established greeting in all off northern Germany it is most likely derived from moi - beautiful, good. The same word is used in Dutch with precisely the same meaning.
Sorry for barging in here, but I guess that is the idea with this anyhow I'm from the southern part of Denmark and we also use the term "Moin" - even though we spell it "Mojn"... but i guess that's because a lot of our language is influenced by Platt -- JørnHansen
Well, Platt is surely an extreme German dialect (or even its own language), so I guess it's no surprise. Correction: Platt is no dialect of German, but a regional language (see European Regional Language Charter). You can force your government officials to answer you in native platt.
Swedish has the greeting "morn morn", which is a sloppy way of saying "morgon morgon", which means "morning morning" and is thus used to greet people during the early hours. Coincidence?
Norwegian has the same greeting "Morn" or "Morn morn" as Danish and Swedish, derived from "morning".
How is moinmoin pronounced? [Although it's an open question as to how to represent the phonemes across Swedish, Danish, Plattdeutsch and English... although probably not impossible as they are all 'Germanic' languages...] --Nicholas Spies
It's pronounced the way you spell it... m as in my, oi as oy in doytshmark, n as in nuts :).
Well then. Why isn't it spelled "meunmeun"? As far as I know, in standard German the second part of the "eu" diphthong is more like "ö" than "i" - less front and more rounded. Is the vowel in "moinmoin" more like German "eu" or English "oi"? --amadis
Because at least for those of us who come from low saxon speaking regions it is not a german word The pronounciation of vowels in lower saxon differs quite a lot from pronounciation in german. For instance, the plattdüsch word water is pronounced almost as in english - at least in my dialect of platt. -- JorgCassens
BTW, one could resolve to accepting *both* theories on The Origin Of MoinMoin---taking into account the nearness in both sound and meaning over several neighbouring languages (Platt, H.-German, Dutch, Swedish, English...). Platt used to be the lingua franca of the Hanse (an early, nautically and commercially oriented ancestor of today's Internet), and a lot of words must have been shared among the people engaged in the international trade across the North and Baltic Seas.--- G.: 'Morgen': early day, next day.--- E.: 'next morn' approx.= next day (cf. also E.: 'day' in 'day and night' vs. 'day' in 'every day').--- Perhaps moinmoin even comes from 'moin morn'?---In (N.) Germany, one often says 'Morgen, Tag, Abend' (in IPA spelling: [mo:en, tax, a:mt]) instead of the more polite and more carefully pronounced, official forms 'Guten Morgen' and so on.
--Wolfgang Lipp [ firstname.lastname@example.org ]
In Scots, 'morn' can mean either morning or tomorrow. Thus the morn's morn is tomorrow morning.
Let´s have a look at van Dale Taalweb (Van Dale Groot woordenboek hedendaags Nederlands):
- keurig van voorkomen, met zorg gekleed
van nature knap van uiterlijk => bevallig
aangenaam voor het esthetisch gevoel => fraai
- aangenaam, gunstig
- aardig, grappig
- [iron.] lelijk, erg
So mooi dag means good day, and MoinMoin seems to be a residual form of this form of greeting.
--GFH Exactly. The two occurrences "moin" and "moin" are IMHO NOT a duplication. One is the "mooi" (good/nice) and the other is "morgen" (morning/day). Together it's simply "good" "day". MoinMoin! --MnKr
mooi(Dutch) = beautiful, nice (English). "mooi dag" is not Dutch. You could say goedendag (Dutch) = Goodday (English). Het is een mooie dag vandaag = It is a nice day today. (mind the e in mooie) mooi has nothing to do with plattdeutsch 'moinmoin' in my perception. 'moinmoin' is unknown in our country. I never heard it, it was unknown to me until now... We mumble in the morning: "mogge", o sounds as in English morning, no r, g is very Dutch: g sounds like g in 'grumpy'. --Dutchman Douwe.
Ich spreche kleine oder keine Deutsche. However, Brooklyners (and other NE-US who pronounce certain inword-'R' with 'oY' twist; we've aw hoyd'em) would be heard to greet each other, mostly with g'mwahnin' or g'moynin' .. but almost as often with .. moynin'. This is simply another example of the pervasive one-size-fits-all co-axiom, Exactly the same, except different. Most Canadians pronounce 'R' in a way the English would call Irish 'R', as do midwest & western US; same enunciation of 'R' at head, mid, or tail of word. So you can't blame the MoinMoin eymological-root quagmire on Canadians, eh? Hofstader fans, math & CompSci folks, and the Gnu-ish will nod sagely (a few will chuckle) at the irony ..nay.. beauty of fuzzy self-reference. However, since 1995, anglophone Canadians see absolutely no humour in such self-conscious prattle, and will promptly apologize for your ever broaching the subject. --jd,canada
hi: AFAIK moin means good as pointed out earlier. the subject of moin however is wind (what makes ships sail). so, it's: 'have a good, good wind', that takes you were you want ... matthias
I live in a small village in north-east Netherlands, close to the city of Groningen. Old (and some young) local people who use the dialect amongst each other greet with "Moi", both when coming and when leaving.
I'm not sure about this but my feeling is that it is derived from the longer "goede morgen" or the german "guten morgen". Our dialect belongs to the nedersaksische language group and is very close to platdeutsch.
One more thing I know: in certain parts of (eastern) Groningen (the province) it is pronounced with an 'e' at the end like "moije". There also use this as an expression of surprise.
Note : when I lived in Hamburg, somebody claimed that "Moin" was only acceptable in the morning, while "MoinMoin" could be used the whole day. However, other Hamburger disagreed with him, so it may or not be true. patrick
- In my area we pronounce moin moin "meu-meun". Another important question: Is it "moin, moin" or "Moin, moin" or "Moinmoin" or "Moin moin".
Hmm. If one "moin" is good, and two are better, then I suppose that alle moiner drar.
- "Moin" is also used in Denmark in the local dialect near the german border (semi-official orthography "Mojn"). Use a single "Mojn" all day round meaning "goodbye" and "hi" when passing friends.
Fins say Moi! for "Hello" at any time of the day though Finnish language belongs to Finno-Ugric family not to Indo-European, by the way. Just a note.---Juumi
And the Swedish speaking Finns also say Moi, but we often twist it to Moin or Måjn, which would partly relate to the Finnish Moi and the German moin. And we also say Morjens, which relates either to the German Morjen or to an old Latin greeting to death!---Johan H.
- Morn morn!
In Norway, "morn morn" is a very common greeting. Usually the etymology has associated it with a "god morgen", but after reading this page, I started wondering if it might have reached Norway with the Hansa traders during the Middle Ages. It may even be a part of the common North Germanic family of languages, and be as old as the hills themselves.
In the later decades, it has been gradually replaced with the Anglo-American "hi" as the most common greeting.
--- Remember that old joke: two northeners are sitting on a dyke, quietly gazing at the sunset. A man passes by and utters a cheerful 'moin moin!'. After he is gone that is commented with a single word: 'Schnacker.'
- French interpretation
"Moins" in french means "Less". "Moin" and "Moins" are pronounced the same way (the "s" is silent). Thus "MoinMoin" means "LessLess" when pronounced. Far from the original intent, eh?
The french "moins", is it pronounced with the "o" as o and the "i" as i? AFAIK a french "oi" is pronounced "wa" or something like that, quite different from the German moin.
BTW, in Standard German the "oi" sound is written as "eu" (or "äu", the umlauted "a" has the same value as "e"), so the orthography "moin" shows clearly this is not Standard German, but "Platt". -Helmut
"Moins" can be "Less", but it's more "Minus". Note that 'MoinMoin' sounds like something opposite to 'PlusPlus', looking like if MoinMoin want to be something different from c++... It is also unfortunately pronounced like a duck noise (CoinCoin) or like a baby crying (HoinHoin), with a strong sound from the noise. Not a very beautiful name in French, indeed. Does not matter, the software is great. Jean-Michel Bain-Cornu
- French "oi" does sound "wa", not "o-i" or "oy"... Around XIIIth century it was pronounced "we", say like English "way" only without the "i" ending and shorter. Vowels preceding "n" would also catch a bit of its nasal nature (here marked with a circumflex accent) so "moins" would sound something like "mwêns" (with an audible "-ns" ending) -- whereas in today's French it's "mwî". I don't know anything about the German/Platt thing. Quite off-topic thus.
Hello! American, here, just thought since there seems a lot of Euros running through this conversation, appropriately, there should also be some from the Other Continent, as well. I am actually Pacific Islander, yes, those bloody Hawaiians! 'Wiki-wiki' means 'quickly', or 'move your butt'...we Hawaiians love to share, so there is that meaning. The argument of what 'MoinMoin' means, I have little input. I have just learned of the phraseology, working with some localized Germans. However, it seems to me that the term is much like the American slang, 'hi', or the sarcastic 'hell-o'. How it is used depends on what it means. Although, some Middle Germans have argued that it can be used anytime of day, and Southern Germans have said it is specific to the morning. I have only ever used it to greet my coworker. M.D.R.A.P.Y.
Hello, permit me if I may to register the Nigerian derivation of this term. MoinMoin in Nigeria is the name for one of the most popular traditional foods, in English it can be termed as "Bean Cake". Its kind of like making pancake but instead of frying its steamed inside a particular type of leaf and comes out in a pyramid shape. Sometimes fish and fresh peppers may be added inside, or you could be creative with it. Its a tasty accompaniment for rice dishes or can be eaten on its own. - WaZoBia
I will second Wazobia's comment. Wikipedia refers to moin-moin as a Nigerian "bean pudding." My family typically uses aluminum foil or tomato sauce cans in lieu of leaves. I avoided moin-moin for a couple of childhood years after tasting a few under-cooked blobs (not my mother's, of course)! Its deep-fried counterpart is akara. Mahlzeit!
- -- Tim Obialo / Atlanta, USA
Another american here....I get to comment from an "outsider's" point of view--I did liasion duty for a couple of months by Aurich & Wilhelmshaven in NE Deutchsland. Everyone used "moinmoin" as "good day", and while it was primarily used in the morning, it was often used up until midday or so. A single "moin" sufficed if you were in a hurry, and was usually accompanied by a small wave. I got funny looks when I used the full "guten morgen" or just "morgen".
Of course, when I got back to the Trier area in the SW, if I said "moin" or worse -- "moinmoin", I got stares like I had two heads. ::grin::
I'm a student at the university of applied science in Emden (near the northern coast of germany). Living in the ruhr area (Ruhrgebiet) myself, I found it interesting to notice, that in Emden people greet by saying "Moin Moin" or just "Moin" any time of the day. The cashiers in the supermarket did it and even my professors. I talk to a colleague from Emden about that and he told me, they keep using "Moin Moin" until noon and just "Moin" after noon. Well, I caught myself using "Moin" to greet people now too...
I'm originally from the south of Lower Saxony and "Moin" is pretty common there, too. As far as I know "moi" (nice, good etc.) is actually an original Frisian word and "morn" (as morgen, mourning or any other form) is common to all germanic languages. From all I have read about "moin", I think it rather derived from "moi" and not from "morn".Probably people just didn't want to use the long form "en moien dag". By the way, Swiss people abbreviate their goodbye similarly, saying "n schönen" meaning "einen schönen tag noch" respectively "have a nice day". For all those of you understanding German, I recommend reading about "Moin" in the German Wikipedia. It shows how "moi" and "morn" are related.
en schöne from switzerland
In the southern part of the danish peninsula Jutland, Moin is widely used as a greeting at any time of the day, as well as a farewell. The expression "Mor'n" derives from the danish "God Morgen" which translates to Good Morning. Most often danes will spell Moin as Mojn due to the pronounciation of the danish J.
Greetings from Denmark.
Missingsch hat mit Messing nichts zu schaffen. Es ist ein altes deutsches Wort für "die Sprache wie sie in Meißen (Sachsen) gesprochen wird".
Poul Erik Jørgensen, Dänemark
--- There can be no french Interpretation
In the south part of france (Occitany), Moins is pronounced as it is written = with S at the end.
Only the north part of france forgot to speak out the end of the words. There is absolutely no relation to the french language in moinmoin.
Gilles / Toulouse/ Fr / Europe
The Hawai'ian bruddah has it exactly right. "MoinMoin" is usually not used referring to a particular time of day (though it is less often used in the evening), nor does it imply that one is personally and directly addressing somebody face-to-face. It is, in the modern use at least, very casual - like a nod and a wave given in passing. In eastern Westphalia where I grew up we use "tach", pronounced, for the English-speakers, "'takh" with a very hard "t". What "MoinMoin" implies depends on the pronounciation. I sometimes use it because I like the sound of it and where I live now, (Cologne) it is generally understood.
It is infrequently used where I grew up. The area had much trade in medieval times due to its membership in the Hanse (Hanseatic League), as a major trade route from Northern Germany went through it until modern times. I guess the urban folks down there have always been able to understand the expression (the rural people spoke their own peculiar variant of Platt and never had anything much to do with the outside world). It may vary from the original way it it used and certainly there are regional differences, but the way I learned it, when given casually, as when passing someone you hardly know, we'd pronounce it like "'móynmoynn." (with short "o"s) with the first half distinctly higher-pitched than the second, but when addressing someone directly, as when you meet a friend and start a conversation, it is pronounced like "moyn'mooyn!". That's how it appeared to me in its native habitat too - I used to spend most of my autumn holidays at the North Sea.
I have the impression that the term naturally lends itself to wordplay, as it is comprehensible to basically everyone speaker of a Germanic language. The possible shift between the original "have a nice one" and the interpretation "(good) morning!" and the opportunity to use a funny-sounding expression (it is of course correct to say MoinMoin in the evening too) surely did their part to keep the term in active use for so long - it is one of the comparatively few expressions from Low German (which is more similar to Dutch/English than modern German) that have survived and prospered even outside their original area of use.
Speaking of Hawai'i, there is something of that "spirit of mahalo" thing in it too. The mahalo thing, as I have experienced it, is not a serious matter, but rather lighthearted as it is used (i.e., not as a moral obligation, but more as a general notion of niceness). And while MoinMoin can also be used offensively (meaning something like "hey you, what are you up to?" maybe), it usually carries with it a notion that not knowing somebody is no reason at all not greet them, or wish them a nice day.
I strongly support the post of Eike
Tim, lower saxony - Germany
- Just another 2 cent:
The Moin and the Moin from Moin Moin have two different roots. The first comes from the Moi (meaning good) and the other comes from Morn (meaning day and is obviously the root for Morning, too -- think of "Tagesanbruch" do you see a connection, too?).
So "Moi Morn" transformed wittily (sp?) to Moin Moin. Since the smirk while saying it, it is thought to be ironic, hence the "Lick my ass"-joke about it ("Moin Moin het klei mi in'n Mors" = "Moin Moin bedeutet Leck' mich am Arsch"). Actually I believe the connotation is more like "Yes, I noticed you, I have no hard feelings, but leave me alone right now, apart from saying 'Hi'").
And another detail which I think was wasn't stated clearly enough: In southern denmark Moin is used for "Hello" though I believe "Hej" is more common, and Moin Moin is used for goodbye (while "Hej Hej" is used for this, too - from my experience, mostly when on the telephone)
Ulf, Flensburger im Exil
--- I would agree with Gilles. In fact it's the same here in Québec. The meaning of MoinMoin would be LessLess less the 's's (or MoinsMoins les 's') which have really no meaning here. Nothing to do with any greetings of some sort. We still speak French here and "moins' as the same french meaning...nothing less or "rien de moins".
Moi = hello/hallo/bye. Kristiina from Finland
"Moinmoin" is used in everyday language as a friendly greeting / good bye in swedish speaking Finland, at least in the area of "Åboland". Also a shorter "moin" is used as an equivalent, as far as I understand. Probably the finnish version, without the 'n' at the end is a shortened quotation of this.
Concerning "Moin Moin" (Moin moin, Moin, moin, mojn, Mojn, Mojn Mojn, Mojn mojn) in Germany it comes from "Nether languages" where "Plattdeutsch" is one. The Frisians, the Dithmarsians(with a little irony and goodwill you could call them the South Frisians^) and Dutch men of course (as well as a lot of other Nether languages, or strong roots in Nether languages (the Northern Scandinavian languages (Finnish is not a Scandinavian language) tend to use the Moin and since it's such a universal greeting for the people that grew up with it, it's not a big wonder that they infected whole parts of Germany (and the world) there are still German speaking communities in America (mostly a little set back in time *grins*) as well as there are a lot of Dithmarsian/Frisian exchange projects (that's probably because of the spear tip of immigrants before ~18th century, a lot of immigrants where German (more Germans than Irish/Scottish/Russian people moved to North America (all these weird German towns were founded by Germans, it's the same in Venezuela (in some countries in South America they even have German voluntary firefighter forces and brought the Wiener Sausage there) Thus it's no big wonder why they tend to say god Mojn in Denmark (as well as some use Mojn Mojn alone) as well as Moin was used at least in "Dithmarschen" for longer than 37 years, but "Tach" is something you'll still hear, they have slightly different connotations (Tach can be used more strictly, "Tach! und anne Arbeit meen jong!" is a rather strict form to tell the sleeping farmboy he's got to work (here farmers tend to paying the youth (or adolescents/young twents) to help them with the work, the pay mostly sucks compared to other works (is tax free and in that part illegal if you're not the farmers family, but none seems to care (thumb up imho)) and it's mostly a lot of fun and physical training. In Northeast Netherlands Moin has already infected people and this wouldn't be possible if the etyomologists that think that it didn't exist before 1970 a far too short time to properly reach so many regions AND infect them, as well as the Prussians have been gone for about ~100 years, ripping a 70 year hole in their idea (readable under http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moin ) as well as other Schleswig-Holstein regions already used it, Dithmarsia for example is between North Frisia and to the south (Steinburg..) Hamburg
it's a friendly greeting in any case and I could imagine that the etymology either lies in the frisian/platt/nether languages or in the scandinavian languages, as the people that belonged to each language (in the history and today) had a lot in common, especially trading and the kind of trading they did (even in the 15th century the Dithmarsian and north Frisian tend to steal each other spouses, wares, food and traded with each other and Hamburg and it's traders were especially nice "spots" to raid a little. It's a "tradition" the Viking did, when they were on a Viking)