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From Middle High German blīben, belīben (to remain in the same position, pause, blin), from Old High German bilīban (to remain), from Proto-Germanic *bilībaną (to remain), from Proto-Indo-European *leyp- (to stick, glue). Cognate with Dutch blijven (to remain), English belive (to remain, stay). More at belive.


  • IPA(key): /ˈblaɪ̯bən/, [ˈblaɪ̯bən], [ˈblaɪ̯bm̩]
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  • Hyphenation: blei‧ben
  • Rhymes: -aɪ̯bən


bleiben (class 1 strong, third-person singular present bleibt, past tense blieb, past participle geblieben, auxiliary sein)

  1. (copulative, with a predicate adjective or predicate nominative) to remain (to continue to be)
    Er blieb sein ganzes Leben ein glühender Anhänger der Monarchie.
    He remained a devoted supporter of the monarchy for all his life.
  2. (intransitive, + infinitive) to keep (on); to continue (see usage notes below)
    Ich bleibe noch ein bisschen liegen.
    I'll keep lying here for a bit.
  3. (intransitive) to stay; to remain in a place
    Du kannst ja schon fahren, aber ich bleibe noch.
    Feel free to leave, but I'm staying some more.
  4. (intransitive) to be; to be stuck; implying tardiness
    Wo bleibst du? Wir sind schon seit über einer Stunde da.
    Where are you? We arrived more than an hour ago.
  5. (intransitive, + dative) to be left for someone
    Was bleibt ihm jetzt noch, wo seine Frau gestorben ist?
    What does he have left now that his wife is dead? (literally: What is left for him...)
  6. (intransitive, + bei) to stick with; to stay with
    Ich hab’s ihm erklärt, aber er bleibt bei seiner Meinung.
    I’ve explained it to him, but he sticks with his opinion.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (keep on): The construction bleiben + infinitive is only possible with certain verbs that describe a fixed position. These are foremost stehen (to stand), sitzen (to sit), liegen (to lie), and synonyms of them. It is also common with verbs like hängen (to hang), kleben (to stick), stecken (to be jammed). Chiefly informally, it may be used with certain verbs describing a continuous living situation, e.g. leben (to live), wohnen (to dwell), or arbeiten (to work, be employed).


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