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From Old High German stelan, from Proto-Germanic *stelaną. Compare Low German stehlen, Dutch stelen, English steal, Danish stjæle.



stehlen (class 4 strong, third-person singular simple present stiehlt, past tense stahl, past participle gestohlen, auxiliary haben)

  1. (transitive or intransitive) to steal

Usage notes[edit]

The one from whom something is stolen is given in the dative case. Thus, “Er hat mir ein Buch gestohlen” means: “He stole a book from me.” This is quite contrary to English usage, where “He stole me a book” would be the equivalent of German: “Er hat ein Buch für mich gestohlen.” (No, that is 'He stole for me, a book' or 'He stole a book for me.'). Literally, the German translated would turn out as 'He has a book for me, stolen', or; 'He has stolen a book for me', which is not really very different at all, but, in fact nearly identical. With proper english syntax, you also need to stipulate the correct prepositions; 'for' or 'from' (which is given by the declination of mich to mir in this particular example) but in English the 'contrary' would be expressed thus 'He has stolen a book from me'.



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