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See also: Backen and bäcken



From a geminated variant of Old High German bachan, from Proto-Germanic *bakaną, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰōg-. Cognate with Low German backen, Dutch bakken, English bake, Danish bage, Swedish baka, and also Greek φώγω (phṓgō). Belongs to the word family of bähen.


  • IPA(key): /ˈbakən/, [ˈbakən], [ˈbakŋ̩]


backen (third-person singular present backt or bäckt, past tense backte or buk, past participle gebacken or gebackt, auxiliary haben)

  1. (transitive or intransitive) to bake; to roast
    Der Bäcker backt jeden Morgen 30 Laib Brot. — “The baker bakes 30 loaves of bread every morning.”
    Ist der Kuchen schon gebacken? — “Is the cake baked yet?”
  2. (transitive or intransitive, colloquial) to fry
  3. (transitive or intransitive, chiefly pottery) to fire
    Die Tonfigur muss mindestens zwei Stunden im Ofen backen. — “The clay piece must be fired in the oven for at least two hours.”
  4. (intransitive) to stick together; to cake.
    Der Schnee backte gestern besser.
  5. (transitive) to stick (something to something else).
Usage notes[edit]

The verb backen has weak forms (present: du backst, er backt; past: backte; past participle: gebackt) alongside older strong forms (du bäckst, er bäckt; buk; gebacken). In the future, the weak forms are expected to prevail, but this development is not yet completed.

  • The past participle gebacken continues to be much more common than gebackt in all senses. In adjectival use, gebacken is even the only possible form: gebackener Käse ("baked cheese").
  • Apart from the past participle, only weak forms are used in the – rather unfrequent – sense of “to stick”.
  • In the other senses, both weak and strong forms are common with possibly a certain prominence of the former. Dialectal differences exist for the present tense. For the past tense, the choice is mainly one of personal preference since neither backte nor buk is really native to colloquial German, which almost exclusively uses the perfect tense for this (and many other) verbs.
Weak Conjugation
Strong Conjugation
Related terms[edit]




  1. definite singular of back
  2. definite singular of backe