wohl

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
See also: Wohl

German[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the Old High German wola (well), from Proto-Germanic *wela, from Proto-Indo-European *wel-. Compare Dutch wel, English well, Danish and Norwegian vel, Swedish väl.

Adverb[edit]

wohl

  1. possibly, probably; as I was told (modal particle expressing an assumption, often like English must + infinitive)
    Er ist wohl schon gegangen.
    He must have left already.
    Seine Frau ist wohl irgendeine bekannte Ärztin.
    [I heard that] his wife is some well-known doctor.
  2. of course, indeed (modal particle adding stress to the statement to contradict a preceding one, often like English do + infinitive)
    Du warst ja noch nie in Frankreich.Ich war wohl schon in Frankreich!
    "Since you've never been to France..." − "Of course, I've been to France!"
    Ich kann's dir nicht sagen, weil ich's nicht weiß.Du weißt es ja wohl!
    "I can't tell you because I don't know." − "But you do know!"
  3. (regional, north-western Germany) actually, somehow, quite (modal particle making the statement weaker or expressing a concession)
    So schlecht ist die Suppe ja nicht. Ich find die wohl gut.
    "The soup isn't that bad after all. I find it quite good."
  4. (archaic) well, very well
    Ihr habt wohl gesprochen, mein Herr!
    "Ye have spoken well, my lord!"

Usage notes[edit]

The distinction between the strengthening particle (“of course”) and the weakening particle (“actually”) is through intonation. With the former wohl is strongly stressed, with the latter it is unstressed. The weakening particle is regional (as indicated above). A more widespread word for this sense is schon.

Derived terms[edit]