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From Middle High German geben, from Old High German geban, from Proto-West Germanic *geban, from Proto-Germanic *gebaną, from Proto-Indo-European *gʰebʰ-.

Akin to Middle Low German gēven, Low German geven, Dutch geven, Middle Dutch ghēven, English give (obsolete yive), Old English giefan, Swedish giva, ge, Danish give, Old Saxon geҍan, Old Norse gefa, Gothic 𐌲𐌹𐌱𐌰𐌽 (giban).

Further Indo-European cognates: Latin habeō, Polish gabać and possibly Albanian jap


  • (Standard, Germany) IPA(key): [ɡeːb(ə)n], [ɡeːbm̩]
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  • Rhymes: -eːbən
  • Hyphenation: ge‧ben


geben (class 5 strong, third-person singular present gibt, past tense gab, past participle gegeben, past subjunctive gäbe, auxiliary haben)

  1. (ditransitive) to give (changing ownership)
    Synonym: schenken
    Meine Frau hat mir eine neue Uhr gegeben.My wife gave me a new watch.
  2. (ditransitive) to hand, to pass, to put within reach
    Gib mir das!Give me that!
    Gib mir deine Hand.Give me your hand (to hold).
    Könnten Sie mir den Stift geben?Could you hand me that pen?
  3. (impersonal, transitive) Used to indicate that something exists (often with a certain property and/or in a certain location). Usually translated as there is/are or there exist(s)
    Gibt es gute Schulen in der Nähe?Are there good schools in the neighborhood?
    Es gibt kein Wasser in dieser Wüste.There is no water in this desert.
    Das kann es nicht geben.This is nothing that could possibly exist.
    • 2000, Eurobarometer: Public Opinion in the European Union, →ISBN, page 8:
      Es gibt eine europäische kulturelle Identität, die von allen Europäern geteilt wird.
      There is a European cultural identity, which is shared by all Europeans.
  4. (ditransitive, transitive) to communicate (helpful information such as a hint or advice), to signal (in a certain way such as a sign)
    Darf ich dir einen Rat geben?May I give you some advice?
    Der Spieler gab ein Signal, dass er eingewechselt werden wollte.The player gave a signal that he wanted to be substituted.
  5. (transitive) to present; to put
  6. (transitive) to result in
    Synonym: ergeben
  7. (uncommon) to think


Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Middle High German[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


Inherited from Old High German geban, from Proto-West Germanic *geban.


gëben (class 5 strong, third-person singular present gibet, past tense gap, past participle gegëben, past subjunctive gæbe, auxiliary hân)

  1. to give



  • German: geben


  • Benecke, Georg Friedrich, Müller, Wilhelm, Zarncke, Friedrich (1863) “gëben”, in Mittelhochdeutsches Wörterbuch: mit Benutzung des Nachlasses von Benecke[1], Stuttgart: S. Hirzel