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See also: Fehlen



From Middle High German vælen, velen, valen, from Old French faillir, from Latin fallō. Cognate with English fail.


  • IPA(key): /ˈfeːlən/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: feh‧len


fehlen (weak, third-person singular present fehlt, past tense fehlte, past participle gefehlt, auxiliary haben)

  1. (with impersonal subject es, dative object and an) to lack
    Der Suppe fehlt es an Geschmack.
    The soup lacks flavor.
  2. (with dative) to be absent from, to be missing from, to be lacking in
    Ich würde es kaufen, aber mir fehlt das Geld.
    I would buy it but I don't have the money.
  3. (with dative) to be missed by
    Seit meinem Umzug fehlen mir meine Freunde.
    I've been missing my friends since I moved.
  4. (with dative, regional) to feel ill, to feel unwell
    Fehlt dir etwas? - Nein, mir fehlt nichts, danke!Do you feel unwell? - No, I'm fine, thanks!
    Was fehlt ihr denn?What's wrong with her?
  5. (intransitive) to be missing
    Das Gemälde fehlt an der Wand.
    The painting is missing from the wall.
  6. (dated) to fail

Usage notes[edit]

  • Note that the roles of subject and object are "reversed" from the English verbs that would be used to translate fehlen. For example:
Du fehlst mir.I miss you.
Ich fehle dir.You miss me.
  • When a location is given, the preposition used gives the location where what is missing is supposed to be. For example
Das Kissen ist auf dem Bett.The pillow is on the bed.
Das Kissen fehlt auf dem Bett.The pillow is missing from the bed.
The preposition auf is used rather than aus or von.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • Kashubian: felowac

Further reading[edit]

  • fehlen” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache
  • fehlen” in Uni Leipzig: Wortschatz-Lexikon
  • fehlen” in Duden online
  • fehlen” in OpenThesaurus.de