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



Etymology 1[edit]

From Old High German degan, from Proto-Germanic *þegnaz, from Proto-Indo-European *tek-. Cognate with Dutch degen, English thane, Icelandic þegn, Ancient Greek τέκνον (téknon).


Degen m (genitive Degens, plural Degen)

  1. hero, warrior, soldier
Derived terms[edit]
  • degenheit (16th century) "bravery, courage"
  • brût-degen "husband, bridegroom"
  • Personal names: edil-degan drût-degan heri-degan swert-degan, diet-degen, volc-degen

Etymology 2[edit]

Illustration of "Degen" from Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon (6th edition, 1905), showing weapons that in English would be variously classed as rapier, smallsword, broadsword or sabre.

Related to French dague and English dagger. The etymology of these terms is unclear. Some suggest that the French is a loan from the German, while others suggest the inverse. If taken from the French, the ultimate origin may be a hypothetical Latin *daca "Dacian [knife]".

15th century (degen, tegen, tägen, dägen, dim. däglin), together with Dolch replacing Middle High German mezzer (Messer). From the 17th century, the meaning "dagger" is restricted to Dolch while Degen comes to refer to longer weapons, especially thrust-oriented dueling swords, by the 18th century referring to any sword worn as part of a uniform.


Degen m (genitive Degens, plural Degen)

  1. (obsolete) dagger
  2. rapier, smallsword
  3. (fencing) épée