From Middle High German entbinden, enbinden, from Old High German intbintan, from Proto-Germanic *andabindaną. Cognate with English unbind, Dutch ontbinden.


  • IPA(key): /ɛntˈbɪn.dən/
  • (file)


entbinden (class 3 strong, third-person singular present entbindet, past tense entband, past participle entbunden, past subjunctive entbände, auxiliary haben)

  1. (transitive, dated, often passive) to see a woman through childbirth; to deliver
    Die Frau wurde von einem kleinen Mädchen entbunden.
    The woman was delivered of a little girl.
    Der Arzt hat die Frau entbunden.
    (please add an English translation of this usage example)
  2. (intransitive) to give birth; referring to labour, excluding pregnancy
    Die Frau hat entbunden.
    The woman has given birth.
  3. (transitive, still somewhat nonstandard) to give birth to a child
    Die Frau hat ein kleines Mädchen entbunden.
    The woman has given birth to a little girl.
  4. (transitive, + von) to free someone from a duty; to release; to exempt
    Ich entbinde Sie von Ihrer Schweigepflicht.
    I exempt you from your confidentiality obligations.
  5. (transitive, + von or genitive) to dismiss or discharge someone from a job or office
    Er wurde seines Amtes entbunden.
    He was discharged from his office.

Usage notesEdit

  • With regard to childbirth, the subject of entbinden was originally the doctor or midwife and the object was the mother (sense 1). This use is now dated, the mother being predominantly construed as the subject (sense 2). However, this construction is still usually intransitive (with no object at all). Transitive use with the child as the object is fairly current, but cannot yet be considered perfectly standard (sense 3).



Further readingEdit

  • entbinden” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache
  • entbinden” in Uni Leipzig: Wortschatz-Lexikon
  • entbinden” in Duden online
  • entbinden” in OpenThesaurus.de