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See also: Wohl and wóhl


Alternative forms[edit]


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)
  • (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.
    Was das wohl zu bedeuten hat?
    What does that mean, though?
  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!"
  5. (regional in Austria, South Tyrol, in response to a negative question or statement) yes; surely; really; on the contrary
    Das stimmt nicht. — Wohl!That's not correct. — Yes, it is!
    Kommst du heute Abend nicht? — Wohl!Aren't you coming tonight?? — Yes, I am!

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