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See also: lappen and läppen



  • IPA(key): /ˈlapən/
  • (standard) IPA(key): [ˈläpən], [ˈläpm̩]
  • (northern Germany) IPA(key): [ˈla̝(ʔ)m̩]
  • (Swiss) IPA(key): [ˈlɑp.pən]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle High German lappe, from Old High German lappo, from Proto-West Germanic *lappā (cloth, rag, lobe) of uncertain origin, possibly Proto-Indo-European *leb- (to hang loosely).[1][2]

The form is remarkable because of the unshifted geminate -pp- (instead of expected Old High German *lapfo). Based on the supposedly invariable nature of the consonant shift, lappo would have to be an originally Central and Low German form (compare Old Saxon lappo). This is, however, quite unlikely since the Old High German word is attested as early as the 9th century, and no variants with -pf- exist. The form remains thus unexplained.


Lappen m (strong, genitive Lappens, plural Lappen, diminutive Läppchen n or Läpplein n)

  1. cloth, rag
  2. (anatomy) lobe
  3. (colloquial) driving licence
  4. (youth slang) loser; idiot
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]



  1. plural of Lappe

Further reading[edit]

  • Lappen” in Duden online
  • Lappen” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “lap”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  2. ^ Roberts, Edward A. (2014) A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Spanish Language with Families of Words based on Indo-European Roots, Xlibris Corporation, →ISBN