Formally from Middle High German lieben, alteration (based on liep) of rarer liuben (“to make or be dear, to treat in a friendly way”), from Old High German liuben, equivalent to lieb + -en.
The singularly attested Old High German liobōn (“to love”) probably remained without continuation; the modern sense was derived in late Middle High German from the noun liebe (“love”) on the model of minnen (“to love”), from minne, which had developed a sexual overtone. It remained absent from most traditional dialects, which use variants of lieb haben or gern haben instead (compare the usage note below). Related to English love. Compare Dutch lieven.
- IPA(key): /ˈliːbən/, [ˈliːbən], [ˈliːbm̩]
- Hyphenation: lie‧ben
- Homophone: liebem (some speakers)
- Rhymes: -iːbən
lieben (weak, third-person singular present liebt, past tense liebte, past participle geliebt, auxiliary haben)
- (usually transitive, sometimes intransitive) to love, to have a strong affection for (someone or something)
- Ich liebe dich. ― I love you.
- Ich liebe die französische Sprache. ― I love the French language.
- (reflexive) to love one another
- (reflexive, poetic) to make love, to have sex
- German is more reluctant in its use of lieben (“to love”) than is English, particularly in reference to things. Such phrases as “Ich liebe den Teppich in deinem Zimmer!” (“I love the carpet in your room!”) are a typical feature of “dubbing German”, i.e. literal translations from English as commonly found in dubbed films or sitcoms. A more native way of expressing the same in German would be “Der Teppich in deinem Zimmer sieht toll aus!”, or “Der Teppich in deinem Zimmer gefällt mir sehr gut!”, or something along these lines.
- Even when referring to love between people, lieben may have a slightly solemn sound. A more normal way of expressing it in spoken German is lieb haben, particularly among friends and family, but usually also between lovers. (See the latter lemma for more.)
|present||ich liebe||wir lieben||i||ich liebe||wir lieben|
|du liebst||ihr liebt||du liebest||ihr liebet|
|er liebt||sie lieben||er liebe||sie lieben|
|preterite||ich liebte||wir liebten||ii||ich liebte1||wir liebten1|
|du liebtest||ihr liebtet||du liebtest1||ihr liebtet1|
|er liebte||sie liebten||er liebte1||sie liebten1|
1Rare except in very formal contexts; alternative in würde normally preferred.
- inflection of lieb:
- German terms inherited from Middle High German
- German terms derived from Middle High German
- German terms inherited from Old High German
- German terms derived from Old High German
- German terms suffixed with -en
- German 2-syllable words
- German terms with IPA pronunciation
- German terms with audio links
- German terms with homophones
- German lemmas
- German verbs
- German weak verbs
- German verbs using haben as auxiliary
- German transitive verbs
- German intransitive verbs
- German terms with usage examples
- German reflexive verbs
- German poetic terms
- German non-lemma forms
- German adjective forms