Die deutsche Fahne vor dem Reichstag in Berlin.
The German flag in front of the Reichstag in Berlin.


From Middle High German vane / van, from Old High German fano, from Proto-Germanic *fanô (cloth, flag), from Proto-Indo-European *pān- (fabric).


  • IPA(key): [ˈfaːnə]
  • Fah·ne, plural: Fah·nen
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Fahne f (genitive Fahne, plural Fahnen, diminutive Fähnchen n or Fähnlein n)

  1. flag; banner (any cloth or fabric used as a symbol)
    Synonyms: Flagge, Banner, Standarte
  2. (figuratively) idea, ideal
    Synonyms: Idee, Prinzip, Motto
  3. (colloquial) the noticeable smell of alcohol on one's breath
    Synonyms: Alkoholfahne, Alkoholgeruch
  4. (printing) galley proof
    Synonym: Druckfahne
  5. (ornithology) vane (flattened, web-like part of a feather)
    Synonyms: Federfahne, Vexillum

Usage notesEdit

  • Flags of nations or ships are more commonly called Flagge, but Fahne (being the more general term) is also possible.


Derived termsEdit


  • Silesian: fana

Further readingEdit

  • Fahne” in Duden online
  • Fahne” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache
  • Fahne in Kluge's Etymological Dictionary of the German Language, 1891