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Alternative forms[edit]


Derived from earlier kneipen, from Middle Low German knīpen. The form with -f- is an artificial adaptation to the High German consonantism, which may have originated in northern dialects of Central German. The form kneipen was predominant well into the 19th century and only came out of use by the mid-20th century. Compare Dutch knijpen.


  • IPA(key): /ˈknaɪ̯fən/
  • (file)


kneifen (class 1 strong, third-person singular simple present kneift, past tense kniff, past participle gekniffen, past subjunctive kniffe, auxiliary haben)

  1. (transitive or intransitive) to pinch, to squeeze
  2. (intransitive) to chicken out; to back out; to shirk
    vor etwas kneifen — “to shirk something”


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