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See also: zettel


ein Zettel.


  • IPA(key): /ˈtsɛtəl/, [ˈtsɛtl̩]
  • Hyphenation: Zet‧tel

Etymology 1[edit]

Early Modern High German also zeddel, zedel, from Middle High German zedele, zedel, a loan from Italian cedola, via Medieval Latin cedula, schedula, the diminutive of scheda, scida (strip of papyrus) ultimately from Ancient Greek σχίδη (skhídē, splinter, fragment). The spelling in -tt- is found from the 15th century in Upper German, the spelling in -dd- persists until the 19th century, primarily in authors from Central or Northern Germany. Luther mostly writes zedel, Goethe alternates between zeddel and zettel. The (now obsolete) spelling variant zettul is influenced by French cédule. Occasional weak inflection is found in Middle High German and persists into the 18th century. The original feminine gender is retained until Luther's time, but occasional masculine or neuter gender is already found in late Middle High German. Masculine gender has predominated since the 19th century.

Alternative forms[edit]

  • zedel (archaic, Early New High German)
  • zeddel (regional and archaic)
  • ziddel (regional (Thuringian) and archaic)
  • zöttel (regional (Bavarian) and archaic)
  • zättel (regional (Alemannic) and archaic)
  • zettul (archaic, Early New High German and 19th century)
  • Zettul m (n)


Zettel m (genitive Zettels, plural Zettel)

  1. small or loose piece of paper
    1635 der schutzengel [...] sträuet etliche zettele nider, darauf schöne sprüch aus heiliger schrift wider die hoffart ("the guardian angel scatters a number of loose pages from above, on which are fine sayings from the holy writ against the sin of pride") Jacob Bidermann, Cenodoxus, p. 71.
  2. note, message, letter
    1511 name er sollich zedel der klagen, verprennet sy und sprach ("he [Constantine] took such letters of complaint [against the bishops], burned them, and said [...]"), Albrecht von Eyb, Spiegel der Sitten, Augsburg, 92v. (O 2b).
  3. poster, placard, public notice
    1725: ohnerachtet herr d. Pf. meinen zettul vom schwartzen brette hatte abreiszen lassen ("nevertheless Mr. d. Pf. had my poster taken down from the [university's] bulletin board", Chr. Thomasius, Gedanken und Erinnerungen, Marburg, 3, 104;
Derived terms[edit]


Etymology 2[edit]

A technical term in weaving recorded from the later 15th century (in Middle High German in the compound zettelgarn). The noun is derived from the verb zetten "scatter; spread out, arrange" via the suffix -el denoting tools (as in Hebel, Stößel). The verb zetten itself is from a Germanic Proto-Germanic *tadjaną (to strew, scatter), whence also English tath "dung".

In German translations of Shakespeare's A Midsumer Night's Dream the name of the weaver Nick Bottom (one of the "rude mechanicals", from bottom "a ball or skein of thread", replaced by a German technical term of weaving following Christoph Martin Wieland, 1762).


Zettel m (genitive Zettels, plural Zettel)

  1. (weaving) warp
    • 1493 kainen zettel innemen oder wúrken, er hab in dann selbs gezettlet ("[he should] take over or work no warp, unless that he has himself warped it). Urkundenbuch Stuttgart ed. Adolf Rapp, Stuttgart, 1912, p.560.
    • 1530 wenn [] an einem kleid eines aussatzes maal sein wirt, es sey ... am zettel oder am eintrag ("The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether [] it be in the warp, or woof [] ") Zürcher Bibel, Leviticus 13:48.
Derived terms[edit]