See also: Sitzen



From Middle High German sitzen, from Old High German sizzen, originally *sitten, from Proto-Germanic *sitjaną, from Proto-Indo-European *sédyeti. Cognate with Low German sitten, Dutch zitten, English sit, Danish sidde.


  • IPA(key): /ˈzɪtsn̩/, /ˈzɪtsən/
  • (file)


sitzen (class 5 strong, third-person singular present sitzt, past tense saß, past participle gesessen, past subjunctive säße, auxiliary haben or sein)

  1. (intransitive) to sit; to perch
  2. (intransitive) to stay (in one place); to remain; to be (in a particular place or state)
    Wir saßen fest!We were stuck!
  3. (intransitive, of clothing) to fit
  4. (intransitive, in certain constructions) to be (e.g. with voller)
    Der Schrank sitzt voller Motten.The cupboard is full of moths.
  5. (intransitive, colloquial) to do time; to spend time in jail
  6. (intransitive, colloquial, of a strike, a comment, etc.) to hit home; to have a significant effect
  7. (intransitive, Switzerland) to sit down

Usage notesEdit

The most frequent auxiliary with sitzen is haben: Ich habe gesessen. In northern and central Germany, only this form is used. In southern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, sein is common in the vernacular and also, alternatively, in standard usage: Ich bin gesessen. However, for some meanings like 5 and 6, haben is used everywhere. This can lead to misunderstandings.


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