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See also: Backen and bäcken



From Middle High German backen, from Old High German backan, an originally weak verb and geminated variant of an older strong verb: Middle High German bachen, from Old High German bahhan, from Proto-West Germanic *bakan.

The two verbs early on were blended to some degree, each developing both weak and strong forms. Bachen was originally the predominant form in Upper German. Backen prevailed in the modern standard language because it was common in Central German and also in line with Middle Low German backen (where *baken is not attested). Cognate with German Low German backen, Dutch bakken, English bake, Danish bage, Swedish baka, and also Ancient Greek φώγω (phṓgō).


  • IPA(key): /ˈbakən/, [ˈbakən], [ˈbakŋ̩]
  • (file)


backen (weak or class 6 strong, third-person singular present backt or bäckt, past tense backte or buk, past participle gebacken or gebackt, past subjunctive backte or büke, auxiliary haben)

  1. (transitive or intransitive) to bake; to roast
    Der Bäcker backt jeden Morgen 30 Laib Brot.
    The baker bakes 30 loaves of bread every morning.
    Ist der Kuchen schon gebacken?
    Is the cake baked yet?
  2. (transitive or intransitive, colloquial, regional) to fry
  3. (transitive or intransitive, chiefly pottery) to fire
    Die Tonfigur muss mindestens zwei Stunden im Ofen backen.
    The clay piece must be fired in the oven for at least two hours.
  4. (intransitive) to stick together; to cake.
    Der Schnee backte gestern besser.
    The snow caked better yesterday.
    Der Schnee backt an meinen Schuhen.
    My shoes are caked with snow.
  5. (transitive) to stick (something to something else).

Usage notes[edit]

The verb backen has weak forms (present: du backst, er backt; past: backte; past participle: gebackt) alongside strong forms (du bäckst, er bäckt; buk; gebacken). The contemporary usage is as follows:

  • For the past participle, strong gebacken is the normal form.
  • Otherwise both weak and strong forms are possible, with probably a certain prominence of the former. For the past tense in particular, the choice is left to personal preference, since neither backte nor buk are commonly heard in vernacular German, which, in several large areas, almost exclusively uses the perfect tense for this verb (and many others).
  • Only weak forms are generally used in the sense of “to stick”, except for the past participle, which may be gebacken or gebackt.



Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Middle Dutch[edit]


From Old Dutch *bakkan, *bakan, from Proto-West Germanic *bakan.



  1. to bake
  2. to cling


This verb needs an inflection-table template.

Infinitive backen
3rd sg. past
3rd pl. past
Past participle
Infinitive backen
In genitive backens
In dative backene
Indicative Present Past
1st singular backe
2nd singular bacs, backes
3rd singular bact, backet
1st plural backen
2nd plural bact, backet
3rd plural backen
Subjunctive Present Past
1st singular backe
2nd singular bacs, backes
3rd singular backe
1st plural backen
2nd plural bact, backet
3rd plural backen
Imperative Present
Singular bac, backe
Plural bact, backet
Present Past
Participle backende

Alternative forms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]


  • Dutch: bakken
  • Limburgish: bakke

Further reading[edit]




  1. definite singular of back
  2. definite singular of backe