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From Middle High German künec, from Old High German kuning (rarer kunig), from Proto-Germanic *kuningaz.[1] The development Old High German -ning → later -nig is regular (see Pfennig). The modern vocalism -ö- is chiefly Central and Low German; compare Middle Low German köninc, from Old Saxon kuning. Cognate with Old Dutch kuning (whence Dutch koning), Old English cyning (whence English king), Old Norse konungr (whence e.g. Danish konge). The word was borrowed into non-Germanic languages in Proto-Germanic times: Finnish and Estonian kuningas, Russian князь (knjazʹ).


  • IPA(key): /ˈkøːnɪç/ (standard)
  • IPA(key): /ˈkøːnɪk/ (often in southern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland)
  • (file)


König m (genitive Königs or Königes, plural Könige, feminine Königin)

  1. king (monarch, chess, card games)


Note: The long genitive form Königes lost popularity by the mid-19th century and today only accounts for 0.3% of attestations.

Related terms[edit]

Chess pieces in German · Schachfiguren, Schachsteine (layout · text)
♚ ♛ ♜ ♝ ♞ ♟
König Dame, Königin Turm Läufer Springer, Pferd, Ross, Rössel Bauer

Proper noun[edit]

König m, f (genitive Königs)

  1. A common surname originating as a nickname.


  1. ^ "König" in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache

Further reading[edit]