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See also: Wohl, wȯhl, and wóhl


Alternative forms[edit]

  • woll (regional, colloquial; otherwise obsolete)
  • wol (obsolete)


From Middle High German wol, wole, from Old High German wola (well), from Proto-Germanic *wela, from Proto-Indo-European *welh₁-. Compare Dutch wel, English well, Danish vel, Swedish väl.


  • IPA(key): /voːl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -oːl



  1. possibly, probably; as I was told (modal particle expressing an assumption, often like English must + infinitive, or (US) guess + clause)
    Er ist wohl schon gegangen.
    He must have left already.
    I guess he has left already.
    Seine Frau ist wohl irgendeine bekannte Ärztin.
    [I heard that] his wife is some well-known doctor.
  2. of course, indeed (modal particle adding stress to the statement to contradict a preceding one, often like English do + infinitive)
    Du warst ja noch nie in Frankreich.Ich war wohl schon in Frankreich!
    "Since you've never been to France..." − "Of course I've been to France!"
    Ich kann's dir nicht sagen, weil ich's nicht weiß.Du weißt es ja wohl!
    "I can't tell you because I don't know." − "But you do know!"
  3. (regional, north-western Germany) actually, somehow, quite (modal particle making the statement weaker or expressing a concession)
    Was habt ihr denn alle mit der Suppe? Ich find die wohl nicht schlecht.
    "Why are you all complaining about the soup? I don't find it all that bad, actually."
  4. (mostly elevated) well, very well
    Ihr habt wohl gesprochen, mein Herr!
    "Ye have spoken well, my lord!"

Usage notes[edit]

  • The distinction between the strengthening particle (“of course”) and the weakening particle (“actually”) is through intonation. With the former wohl is strongly stressed, with the latter it is unstressed.
  • The weakening particle is regional (as indicated above); more general words for this sense are schon or eigentlich.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • wohl” in Duden online
  • wohl” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache