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Alternative forms[edit]

  • falb (of horses; otherwise archaic)


From Middle High German val (inflected valwe), from Old High German falo, from Proto-Germanic *falwaz. While the variant falb is from the Middle High German inflected stem, the form fahl is based on the uninflected stem. However, the lengthened vowel points to influence by varieties that reduce -lw- to -l- even in open syllables; these include Middle Low German vāl (declined vāle), from Old Saxon falu. See the same development in kahl. Cognate with Dutch vaal, English fallow.



fahl (comparative fahler, superlative am fahlsten)

  1. (of light) pale; faint
  2. (of skin) sallow; pale (discoloured due to sickness, shock, etc.)
  3. (of animal hair, chiefly horses) pale; dun-coloured
  4. (obsolete, of human hair) fair; blond
    • 1836, Ludwig Friedrich Würkert, Die Stadt- und Landschule - Eine Sammlung aller Schulwissenschaften, volume 4, p. 391
      Schon rothes und fahles Haar muß er bleichen, um es braun oder schwarz zu beizen.
      He had to bleach even red and fair hair in order to dye it brown or black.



Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • fahl in Duden online