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An originally Central and Low German verb, from Middle Low German labbern (to drink like a dog; to slurp). Related to laff (“slack”, here of the tongue).


  • IPA(key): /ˈlaːbɐn/
  • (file)


labern (weak, third-person singular present labert, past tense laberte, past participle gelabert, auxiliary haben)

  1. (obsolete, except possibly regionally) to slurp; to drink noisily
  2. (informal) to talk or speak unnecessarily lengthily; to talk idly; to engage in unsubstantiated talk; to babble
    Als guter Politiker hat unser Bürgermeister auf der Bühne so lange gelabert, dass die Verspätung des Orchesters gar nicht auffiel.
    Being a good politician, our mayor extended his speech on stage so much that the delayed appearance of the orchestra went unnoticed.
    Wenn der Peter mal gute Laune hat, hört er den ganzen Abend nicht auf zu labern.
    When Peter is in a good mood for once, he won’t stop babbling for the rest of the night.
  3. (colloquial) to chat; to talk among each other (usually about light topics); the verb retains a certain nuance, but becomes rather neutral
    Und? Was habt ihr gemacht?Och, nur Kaffee getrunken und schön mal gelabert.
    So? What did you guys do? — Oh, we just drank coffee and had a nice chat.



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Further reading[edit]

  • labern” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache
  • labern” in Duden online