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See also: Paddeln



Occasionally since circa 1800 from Low German paddeln (to scurry, tottle, dabble, splash, twitch), frequentative of padden, padjen (to step, scurry, walk in shallow water). Probably from a variant of Middle Low German pedden (to tread, tramp), cognate with Dutch pedden, Old English pæþþan, which are considered derivatives of Proto-Germanic *paþaz (path); compare also Old High German phadōn. In this case, English pad (to travel) and paddle (to walk in shallow water) must be Low German borrowings.

In the late 19th century, the (Low) German word was merged with English paddle (to propel a canoe) and spread in the standard language chiefly in this sense, but with certain remnants of the native meaning. English paddle (kind of oar) is from a Latin noun, probably influenced by the verb mentioned above. See the lemma.


  • IPA(key): /ˈpadəln/, [ˈpadl̩n]
  • (file)


paddeln (weak, third-person singular present paddelt, past tense paddelte, past participle gepaddelt, auxiliary sein)

  1. to paddle (propel a canoe)
  2. to make floundering or twitchy movements (especially in water); to paddle; to swim clumsily (like a dog); to keep oneself afloat by moving one's arms up and down


Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • paddeln” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache
  • paddeln” in Uni Leipzig: Wortschatz-Lexikon
  • paddeln” in Duden online
  • paddeln” in




  1. definite singular of paddel