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See also: Sehen


Alternative forms[edit]

  • seh'n, sehn (dated in formal prose, but still common informally or poetically)


From Old High German sehan, from Proto-Germanic *sehwaną, from Proto-Indo-European *sekʷ- (to see). Compare Low German sehn, Dutch zien, English see, Danish se, Gothic 𐍃𐌰𐌹𐍈𐌰𐌽 (saiƕan).


  • IPA(key): /ˈzeː.ən/ (official standard, but less common)
  • IPA(key): /zeːn/ (predominant)
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Homophone: Seen (only according to the official standard)
  • Rhymes: -eːən, -eːn


sehen (class 5 strong, third-person singular simple present sieht, past tense sah, past participle gesehen, past subjunctive sähe, auxiliary haben)

  1. (intransitive) to see; to look; to have sight
    Synonyms: schauen, gucken
    auf etwas sehen — “to look at something”
    nach etwas sehen — “to look for something”
  2. (intransitive, with nach) to take care (of something or someone); to make (something) happen; to see (to something); to look (after someone)
    Synonyms: schauen, gucken
  3. (transitive) to see (something); to view; to watch; to observe; to look at
    Synonyms: schauen, gucken
    • 2016, Selma Lagerlöf, Mathilde Mann (translator), Karl-Maria Guth (editor), Jerusalem. Erster und zweiter Teil, Sammlung Hofenberg im Verlag der Contumax GmbH, Berlin, page 225:
      Sahest du nicht den Patriarchen der Armenier ebenso wie den der Griechen und der Assyrer ihre Throne hier errichten? Und sahest du nicht Kopten aus dem alten Ägypten und Abessinier aus dem Herzen Afrikas kommen? Du sahest Jerusalem wieder aufgebaut, eine Stadt von Kirchen und Klöstern, von Gasthäusern und frommen Stiftungen.
  4. (transitive) to notice; to perceive; to realize
  5. (reflexive with a plural subject or transitive) to meet; to go to see

Usage notes[edit]

Sehen can be used in a so-called "accusative with infinitive" construction (as in English): Ich sah ihn arbeiten. – “I saw him work.” If such a sentence is in the perfect or pluperfect tense, the infinitive usually replaces the past participle: Ich hatte ihn arbeiten sehen. – “I had seen him work.” The use of the past participle instead does occur in some speakers, but is ungrammatical to many others.


Note: There is also sahest besides (du) sahst and sähst besides (du) sähest.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]