Alternative formsEdit


From Middle High German māz, from Old High German māza, from Proto-West Germanic *mātu. Compare Dutch maat (size, measure), Old English met (measure, amount, limit). More at mete.

Unrelated to Masse.


  • IPA(key): /maːs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aːs


Maß n (strong, genitive Maßes, plural Maße)

  1. size
  2. extent
  3. measure (standard against which something can be judged)
    Ehrlichkeit ist das wahre Maß eines Mannes.
    Honesty is the true measure of a man.
    • 1932, Erich Mühsam, Die Befreiung der Gesellschaft vom Staat, in: Erich Mühsam: Prosaschriften II, Verlag europäische ideen Berlin (1978), page 260:
      Der Individualismus will umgekehrt den ungekürzten Lebensraum des Individuums zum Maß der gesellschaftlichen Daseinsform machen, ohne Rücksicht auf Gleichheit und Gesamtnutzen.
      Individualism, in contrast, wants to make the unshortened living space of the individual the measure of the social form of being, without consideration for equality or total utility.

Usage notesEdit

Most native speakers and even some dictionaries, for example, confuse this word (das Maß) with the rare word die Maße (plural in all cases: Maßen), which is so archaic that it is only used in idiomatic expressions such as these:

In speaking, native speakers nevertheless normally use these idiomatic expressions grammatically correctly with the plural Maßen. But when thinking about these expressions and especially while writing, native speakers sometimes use the incorrect form Maße because they think these idiomatic expressions use the word das Maß, whose accusative plural is die Maße (when in fact these expressions use the word die Maße, whose accusative plural is die Maßen). Such was the case in the German Wiktionary until November 2021.

The professionally edited dictionary presents these expressions grammatically correctly but does so confusingly without explanation or warning in the entry for das Maß. It neither explains why most of these expressions use the form Maßen in the accusative plural nor explains that this is the accusative plural of die Maße. (Expressions with mit of course use the dative plural, which is the same for both the familiar word das Maß and the rare word die Maße.)


Derived termsEdit


Related termsEdit


Maß f (genitive Maß, plural Maß or Maßen)

  1. (Southern German) a litre/tankard of beer


Further readingEdit