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From Middle High German vihe, from Old High German fihu, Proto-Germanic *fehu, from Proto-Indo-European *péḱu (livestock, domestic animals). Cognate to Low German Veeh, Dutch vee, English fee, Danish .


  • IPA(key): /fiː/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iː


Vieh n (genitive Viehs or Viehes, no plural)

  1. (uncountable, collective) livestock; farm animals (animals kept for their milk, meat, skin, etc.)
    Das Vieh grast auf der Weide.The animals are grazing on the pasture.
  2. (countable, singulative) Alternative form of Viech (animal, beast)
    Wenn so ein Vieh vor einem steht, kommt man sich ziemlich klein und schwach vor.
    You feel pretty small and weak when such a beast is standing right in front of you.
  3. (countable, figuratively, derogatory) beast; swine (person behaving in a boorish or inhumane way)
    Du Vieh! Wie kannst du nur!You beast! How dare you!


Usage notes[edit]

  • Vieh is per se a collective noun (“livestock”), but is also sometimes used as a singulative (“animal”). For the latter case, however, there is no corresponding plural. Instead, a construction with Stück can be used: ein, zwei, drei Stück Vieh (“one, two, three head[s] of livestock”).
  • In Upper German areas, the variant Viech is also used as a singulative of Vieh, whence the plural Viecher (animals). In the north, however, Viech is not used in this neutral way but only with a pejorative sense (“beast, pest”).
  • In the figurative sense of “boorish, inhumane person”, an ad-hoc plural Viehe may be formed, but this is rare and nonstandard.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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

Pennsylvania German[edit]


From Middle High German vihe, from Old High German fihu, Proto-West Germanic *fehu, from Proto-Germanic *fehu, from Proto-Indo-European *peḱu-. Compare German Vieh.



Vieh n

  1. (collective) livestock, cattle