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German Low German form that in standard usage replaced High German dämisch, damisch from the same source. Various theories about the etymology have been suggested:

  • It may be cognate to Latin tēmētum.
  • It may be related to taumeln (to tumble), but this is unlikely since forms with t- are not attested.
  • It may be related to dämmern (to become dim), but this is also rejected by the Duden and Kluge.
  • The Duden derives it from the Low German verb dämelen "not quite in one's right mind".
  • Kluge suggests it is from Proto-Germanic *þēm-, which (along with the Latin cognate tēmulentus (drunk)) is from Proto-Indo-European *tem- (dazed, numbed).

It is not related to Dame, despite popular folk etymology.


  • IPA(key): /ˈdɛːmlɪç/ (standard; used naturally in western Germany and Switzerland)
  • IPA(key): /ˈdeːmlɪç/ (overall more common; particularly northern and eastern regions)
  • Hyphenation: däm‧lich
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dämlich (comparative dämlicher, superlative am dämlichsten)

  1. very stupid


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Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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