wohl

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See also: Wohl and wȯhl

German[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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

Pronunciation[edit]

Adverb[edit]

wohl

  1. possibly, probably; as I was told (modal particle expressing an assumption, often like English must + infinitive)
    Er ist wohl schon gegangen.
    He must have 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)
    So schlecht ist die Suppe ja nicht. Ich find die wohl gut.
    "The soup isn't that bad after all. I find it quite good."
  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); a more general word for this sense is schon.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]