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German cardinal numbers
2 3 4
    Cardinal : drei
    Ordinal : dritte


From Old High German drī, from Proto-Germanic *þrīz, from Proto-Germanic *þrīz, from Proto-Indo-European *tréyes. Compare Dutch drie, English three, Danish tre.




  1. three


  • Nominative and accusative are always uninflected.
  • The genitive case takes the form dreier if no article or pronoun is preceding: der Vater dreier Kinder – “the father of three children”. But: der Vater der drei Kinder – “the father of the three children”.
  • The dative case is uninflected in adjectival use: Ich sprach mit drei Zeugen. – “I spoke with three witnesses.” When used as a noun, it may take the form dreien: Ich sprach mit dreien. – “I spoke with three.” In formal standard German, this rule is usually observed; but when a specification in the genitive case or with von (of) is following, the bare form is more common: Ich sprach mit drei(en) von ihnen. – “I spoke with three of them.” In colloquial German, dreien is never obligatory.

Derived terms[edit]

Coordinate terms[edit]

External links[edit]

  • drei in Duden online

German Low German[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

  • (in some dialects) dree


Compare Old Saxon thrīe, from Proto-Germanic *þrīz, from Proto-Indo-European *tréyes. Ultimately cognate to German drei, Dutch drie, English three.



  1. (Low Prussian) three (3)

See also[edit]

  • Plautdietsch: dree