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From Middle High German dürfen, durfen, from Old High German durfan, from Proto-Germanic *þurbaną, cognate with Ancient Greek τέρπω (térpō, I delight, please), English tharf.


  • (most of Germany) IPA(key): /ˈdʏrfən/, [ˈdʏʁf(ə)n], [ˈdʏɐ̯f(ə)n]
  • (parts of southern Germany; Austria, Switzerland) IPA(key): /ˈdʏrfən/, [ˈd̥ʏrfən], [ˈd̥ʏrfɛn]
  • (file)
  • (file)


dürfen (irregular, third-person singular simple present darf, past tense durfte, past participle gedurft, auxiliary haben)

  1. (auxiliary, infinitive replaces past participle) To be allowed (to do something); to be permitted (to do something); may.
    • 1930, Bertolt Brecht (lyrics), Kurt Weil (music), “act 2, scene 2”, in Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny:
      Erstens, vergesst nicht, kommt das Fressen, / zweitens kommt der Liebesakt, / drittens das Boxen nicht vergessen, / viertens Saufen, laut Kontrakt. / Vor allem aber achtet scharf, dass man hier alles dürfen darf.
      (please add an English translation of this quote)
    Darf ich gehen?May I go?
    Ich habe gehen dürfen.I was allowed to go.
  2. (intransitive or transitive, past participle as above) To be allowed or permitted to do something implied or previously stated; may.
    Ja, du darfst.Yes, you may.
    Ich habe es gedurft.I was allowed [to do] it.
  3. (subjunctive present, modal auxiliary verb) Expresses that something is estimated or probable.
    • 1934, Walther Kabel (as Max Schraut), Der Bluffer, Verlag moderner Lektüre, page 54:
    • Die Wohnungen dürften ein wenig hellhörig sein.
      The walls of the apartments are probably a bit thin.
  4. (colloquial) to must, to have to
    Und ich darf dann wieder hinter euch aufräumen.
    And I can clean up after you once again then.



  • Ido: darfar

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