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From kneipen, an archaic variant of kneifen (to pinch, squeeze).

The noun spread from student slang of Upper Saxony in the later 18th century, possibly picked up from thieves’ cant, and is based on the idea of a crowded pub where people, as it were, squeeze and poke each other. Kneipe became the commonest word for “pub” during the 20th century.


  • IPA(key): /ˈknaɪ̯pə/
  • (file)


Kneipe f (genitive Kneipe, plural Kneipen)

  1. pub, bar
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:Kneipe
  2. (obsolete) a student’s cramped dwelling

Usage notes[edit]

  • The term Kneipe typically refers to a pub that does not serve hot food, which is the predominant rule for pubs in German-speaking Europe. Pubs that do serve hot food are more likely to be referred to as Wirtschaft or Lokal, although they may also be called Kneipe.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • Czech: knajpa
  • Danish: knejpe
  • Dutch: knijp
  • Polish: knajpa

Further reading[edit]

  • Kluge, Friedrich (1902), “Kneipe”, in Zeitschrift für deutsche Sprache, volume 3, Straßburg: Karl J. Trübner, pages 114–121
  • Kneipe” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache
  • Kneipe” in Duden online