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See also: Sitzen



From Middle High German sitzen, from Old High German sizzen, sitten, from Proto-West Germanic *sittjan. Cognate with Low German sitten, Dutch zitten, English sit, Danish sidde.


  • IPA(key): /ˈzɪtsn̩/, /ˈzɪtsən/ (prescriptive standard)
  • IPA(key): /ˈsitsn̩/ (Austria, Bavaria)
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sitzen (class 5 strong, third-person singular present sitzt, past tense saß, past participle gesessen, past subjunctive säße, auxiliary haben or sein)

  1. (intransitive) to sit; to perch [auxiliary haben or sein]
  2. (intransitive) to stay (in one place); to remain; to be (in a particular place or state) [auxiliary haben or sein]
    Wir saßen fest!We were stuck!
  3. (intransitive, of clothing) to fit [auxiliary haben or sein]
  4. (intransitive, regional, in certain constructions) to be (e.g. with voller)
    Der Schrank sitzt voller Motten.The cupboard is full of moths.
  5. (intransitive, colloquial) to do time; to spend time in jail [auxiliary haben]
    im Gefängnis be in jail.
  6. (intransitive, colloquial, of a strike, a comment, etc.) to hit home; to have a significant effect [auxiliary haben]
  7. (intransitive, Switzerland) to sit down

Usage notes[edit]

The most frequent auxiliary with sitzen is haben: Ich habe gesessen. In northern and central Germany, only this form is used. In southern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, sein is common in the vernacular and also, alternatively, in standard usage: Ich bin gesessen. However, for some meanings like 5 and 6, haben is used everywhere. This can lead to misunderstandings.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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