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See also: Greifen



From Middle High German grifen, from Old High German grīfan, from Proto-Germanic *grīpaną, from Proto-Indo-European *gʰreyb- (to grab, grasp). Cognate with German Low German griepen, Dutch grijpen, English grip, Danish gribe.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɡʁaɪ̯fən/, [ˈɡʁaɪ̯fən], [ˈɡʁaɪ̯fn̩], [ˈɡʁaɪ̯fɱ̩]
  • (file)


greifen (class 1 strong, third-person singular simple present greift, past tense griff, past participle gegriffen, past subjunctive griffe, auxiliary haben)

  1. (transitive) to grab; to grasp; to grip (something)
  2. (transitive) to grab; to seize; to snatch (in an aggressive way)
  3. (intransitive) to reach; to grab
    an etwas greifen — “to touch something” (literally, “to grab onto something”)
    nach etwas greifen — “to reach for something”
    zu etwas greifen — “to reach for something”
    in etwas greifen — “to reach into something”
  4. (transitive) to capture (someone)
  5. (transitive, music, chords) to strike
    • 1931, Arthur Schnitzler, Flucht in die Finsternis, S. Fischer Verlag, page 14:
      Er begab sich ins Klavierzimmer, griff ein paar Akkorde auf dem verstimmten Flügel, verließ aber bald wieder den Raum, [...]
      He went to the piano room, struck a few chords on the out-of-tune grand piano, but soon left the room again, [...]
  6. (intransitive) to take hold; to bite
    Trotz des schlechten Wetters griffen die Reifen hervorragend — The tires did bite perfectly despite the bad weather.



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