stehlen

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German[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old High German stelan, from Proto-Germanic *stelaną. Compare Low German stehlen, Dutch stelen, English steal, Danish stjæle.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

stehlen (class 4 strong, third-person singular simple present stiehlt, past tense stahl, past participle gestohlen, auxiliary haben)

  1. (transitive or intransitive) to steal
  2. (reflexive) to skulk, to move secretly

Usage notes[edit]

  • The person from whom the thing is stolen is given in the dative case. Thus, Er hat mir ein Buch gestohlen means: “He stole a book from me.” This is quite contrary to English usage, where “He stole me a book” would be the equivalent of German: Er hat ein Buch für mich gestohlen. The person for whom the thing is stolen must be expressed as an object of "für".
  • An exception to this, however, is a reflexive dative, which will have the same sense as in English: Er hat sich ein Buch gestohlen means: “He stole himself a book.” This exception is implied by logic, since one cannot steal from oneself.

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Low German[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Saxon stelan, from Proto-Germanic *stelaną.

Verb[edit]

stehlen (third-person singular simple present stehlt, past tense stohl, past participle stahlen, auxiliary verb hebben)

  1. (transitive or intransitive) to steal
  2. (reflexive) to skulk, to move secretly

Usage notes[edit]

As in High German, the person from whom the thing is stolen is given in the oblique case. Thus, He hett mi en Book stahlen means: “He stole a book from me.” This is quite contrary to English usage, where “He stole me a book” would be the equivalent of Low German: He hett en Book för mi stahlen.

Conjugation[edit]

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