selten

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German[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old High German seltan. Cognate with Dutch zelden, English seldom.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈzɛltən/, [ˈzɛltən], [ˈzɛltn̩]
  • (file)

Adjective[edit]

selten ‎(comparative seltener or seltner, superlative seltensten)

  1. rare, infrequent
  2. unusual

Usage notes[edit]

The contracted comparative seltner is per se rare, but is occasionally used in attributive position: ein noch seltneres Phänomen − "an ever rarer phenomenon". This is done to avoid the three consecutive reduced syllables in selteneres etc.

Declension[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Adverb[edit]

selten

  1. seldom; rarely
    Er ist selten unfreundlich.
    He’s rarely ever unfriendly.
  2. unusually; extremely
    Der Typ war ja selten unfreundlich!
    That guy was extremely unfriendly!

Usage notes[edit]

  • The two senses are distinguishable by context and intonation.

External links[edit]