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From Old High German durfan, from Proto-Germanic *þurbaną, cognate with Ancient Greek τέρπω(térpō, I delight, please), and hence the Muses, in English Terpsichore and Euterpe.


  • (most of Germany) IPA(key): /ˈdʏrfən/, ['dʏʁf(ə)n], ['dʏɐ̯f(ə)n]
  • (parts of southern Germany; Austria, Switzerland) IPA(key): /'dʏrfən/, ['d̥ʏrfən], ['d̥ʏrfɛn]
  • (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.
    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.


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