begreifen

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German[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle High German begrifen, from Old High German bigrīfan, from Proto-West Germanic *bigrīpan. Equivalent to be- +‎ greifen. Compare English begripe.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /bəˈɡʁaɪ̯fən/, [-fən], [-fn̩], [-fɱ̩]
  • (file)
  • (file)

Verb[edit]

begreifen (class 1 strong, third-person singular present begreift, past tense begriff, past participle begriffen, auxiliary haben)

  1. (transitive) to grasp fully; to comprehend; to conceive, to fathom
    Der menschliche Verstand kann die Ewigkeit nicht wirklich begreifen.
    The human mind cannot really comprehend eternity.
  2. (transitive, rather formal) to understand intellectually
    Ich begreife nicht, wie das geschehen konnte.
    I don’t understand how that could have happened.
  3. (transitive or reflexive, rather formal) to consider (to be); to see (as)
    • 2010, Der Spiegel, issue 33/2010, page 71:
      Betroffen sind nun vor allem auch die gutausgebildeten und bislang gutverdienenden Leute. Diejenigen, die sich als solide Mittelklasse begreifen.
      Also affected are now especially the well-educated and so far well-paid people. The ones that see themselves as solid middle class.

Conjugation[edit]

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Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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