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Of East Central German dialectal origin, first attested in the 19th century. Probably related to Middle Low German teve, Middle Dutch teve (13th c., modern Dutch teef), Old English tife (related to modern English tyke), all meaning “female dog, bitch”.

Given the geographical range (chiefly outside the original Old High German territory), the semantic variation (which may imply foreignness adapted to slang) and the comparatively very late attestation of the High German form, a secondarily adapted borrowing from Low German should be considered alternatively to inheritedness. However, known dialectal distribution shows that the word is without doubt significantly older than the 19th century.



Zibbe f (genitive Zibbe, plural Zibben)

  1. (regional) ewe (female sheep or goat)
  2. (regional) female hare or rabbit
  3. (dialectal or archaic) female dog; bitch



Further reading[edit]