From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: dirne





From Middle High German dierne (girl; servant), from Old High German diorna, thiorna (girl; servant), from Proto-West Germanic *þewernā. Doublet of Deern. The sense “prostitute” developed from the use for a “girl from the lower classes”. It is first attested in the 15th century.


  • IPA(key): /ˈdɪrnə/, [ˈdɪʁnə], [ˈdɪɐ̯nə], [ˈdɪrnə]
  • Audio:(file)



Dirne f (genitive Dirne, plural Dirnen)

  1. (derogatory, dated, also biblical) whore (prostitute or sexually unreserved woman)
    Synonyms: Buhldirne, Hure, Lustdirne, Nutte; see also Thesaurus:Prostituierte
    Hyponyms: Edeldirne, Straßendirne
    • 1808, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Vorspiel auf dem Theater”, in Faust: Der Tragödie erster Teil [Faust, Part One]‎[1]:
      Der, nach dem Schauspiel, hofft ein Kartenspiel, / Der eine wilde Nacht an einer Dirne Busen.
      One, after the play, hopes for a card game / another, for a wild night on the bosom of a harlot.
    • 1851, Heinrich Heine, Romanzero[2], Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe, Zweites Buch: Lamentationen, page 118:
      Das Glück ist eine leichte Dirne, / Und weilt nicht gern am selben Ort; / Sie streicht das Haar dir von der Stirne / Und küßt dich rasch und flattert fort.
      Luck is an easy girl / And does not like to linger in a place; / She wipes your hair from your brow / And kisses you swiftly and flutters away.
  2. (archaic or regional) girl; lass

Usage notes

  • The older sense “girl” is now chiefly restricted to dialectal and regional cognate forms. Northern German Deern (from Low German Deern) and Bavarian Dirndl (cp. Bavarian Dirndl) are widely understood, though not commonly used outside of their traditional areas.



Further reading