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From Middle High German, from Old High German mahhōn, from Proto-Germanic *makōną; akin to Low German maken, Dutch maken, English make, West Frisian meitsje. Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *mag- (to knead, mix, make).


  • IPA(key): /ˈmaxən/, [ˈmaχən], [ˈmaχn̩]
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  • Rhymes: -aχn


machen (third-person singular simple present macht, past tense machte, past participle gemacht, auxiliary haben)

  1. (transitive) to do, to make (to perform an action)
    Mach es!Do it!
    Er hat eine große Schweinerei gemacht. — He has made a big mess.
    Das hat er ganz allein gemacht! — He has done that all by himself!
  2. (transitive) to make; to produce
    Ich hab dir einen Kuchen gemacht! — I have made you a pie!
  3. (transitive) to take (a photo)
  4. (transitive) to prepare (e.g. food, drinks)
    Machst du heute das Essen?Will you prepare dinner, today?
    sich eine Pizza machen — to prepare a pizza by oneself
  5. (transitive, vernacular) to matter
    Das macht nichts! — That doesn't matter!
  6. (transitive, informal, colloquial) to come to; to total; to cost (prizes)
    Wie viel macht das? — How much does that come to?
  7. (transitive, informal, colloquial) to earn; to profit (wages)
    Der Herr Müller ist echt reich; der macht mehr als 5000 im Monat. — Mr Müller is quite rich; he earns more than 5000 bucks per month.

Usage notes[edit]

Unlike English, the verbs machen and tun (cognates of English make and do, respectively) are used synomynously in many cases.

If the verb implies an action, machen and tun are interchangeable, provided the object is a pronoun.
Ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob ich das tun/machen kann. — I am not sure if I can do that.
Tun may imply an action with more serious consequences than machen, meaning that the use of the latter would sound uncommon—although not ungrammatical—in a context such as the following.
Wer hat sie umgebracht? Wer hat es getan? — Who has put her to death? Who has done it?
Generally, when the object is not a pronoun, only machen is possible. Tun is usually ungrammatical with non-pronominal objects (unlike English “do”).
Lasst uns ein Spielchen machen! – Let's do a little game!
In accordance with English usage, machen is also obligatory when there is something to be produced or made.
Hast du den Kuchen gemacht? Er ist sehr lecker!. — Did you make the cake? It's delicious!.



Derived terms[edit]

External links[edit]



  • IPA(key): /ˈmatʃen/, [ˈmätʃe̞n]



  1. Second-person plural (ustedes) imperative form of machar.
  2. Second-person plural (ustedes) present subjunctive form of machar.
  3. Third-person plural (ellos, ellas, also used with ustedes?) present subjunctive form of machar.