Univerbation of the prayer’s first two words Vater unser: From Middle High German vatir unsir etc., from Old High German fater unser, translation of Latin Pater noster, itself translated from Ancient Greek πάτερ ἡμῶν (páter hēmôn). The postposition of the possessive was still grammatical in Old High German and early Middle High German, but has survived to this day under continuous backing of the Latin. The natural position Unser Vater is attested since the 16th century, but is presently less common.
Vaterunser n (genitive Vaterunsers, plural Vaterunser)
- (Christianity) Lord's Prayer; Our Father; paternoster (prayer that Jesus taught his disciples)
- (dated) an approximate measure of time: as long as it takes to say the Our Father at an intermediate tempo, i.e. about half a minute
- The dative plural may, less commonly, take the form den Vaterunser.