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From Middle High German verstophen, from Old High German firstopfōn, from Proto-Germanic [Term?]; equivalent to ver- +‎ stopfen. Cognate with Dutch verstoppen, English forstop.


  • IPA(key): /fərˈʃtɔpfən/, /fɛr-/, [fɐˈʃtɔpfən], [fɛɐ̯-], [-pfn̩], [-pfɱ̍], [-pɸən], [-pɸn̩], [-pɸm̩]
  • Hyphenation: ver‧stop‧fen
  • (file)


verstopfen (third-person singular simple present verstopft, past tense verstopfte, past participle verstopft, auxiliary haben or sein)

  1. (transitive) to plug; to clog
    Er verstopft das Rohr mit einem Lappen.
    He plugs the pipe with a rag of cloth.
    Haare verstopfen das Rohr.
    Hairs clog the pipe.
  2. (intransitive or reflexive) to become clogged; to clog up
    Das Rohr verstopft.
    The pipe is getting clogged.
    Seit der Renovierung hat sich das Rohr verstopft.
    The pipe has clogged up since the renovation.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The auxiliary is haben in transitive and reflexive use, but sein in intransitive use. (The latter is fairly rare, as explained hereunder.)
  • (to become clogged): This sense is usually construed as an intransitive verb in the present, preterite, and future tenses. In the perfect tenses, on the other hand, the reflexive construction is often preferred for clarity. Compare the last example sentence above, which could also be rendered as: Seit der Renovierung ist das Rohr verstopft. This would be less clear, however, because it could mean—and would usually mean—that the pipe has been clogged ever since the renovation (present tense of the copula + adjectival participle).


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