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Alternative formsEdit

  • steh'n
  • stehn (dated in formal prose, but still common informally or poetically)


From Old High German stān, stēn, from Proto-Germanic *stāną. The -h- was introduced into the spelling by analogy with sehen, in which it had become mute but was retained in spelling.


  • IPA(key): /ˈʃteː.ən/ (official standard, but less common)
  • IPA(key): /ʃteːn/ (predominant)
  • Hyphenation: ste‧hen
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eːən, -eːn


stehen (irregular, third-person singular simple present steht, past tense stand, past participle gestanden, past subjunctive stände or stünde, auxiliary haben or sein)

  1. (intransitive) to stand (to be upright, support oneself on the feet in an erect position)
  2. (intransitive) to be, to appear, to stand (to be placed or located somewhere)
    Das steht nicht in dem Wörterbuch.
    This does not appear in the dictionary.
    • 1931, Arthur Schnitzler, Flucht in die Finsternis, S. Fischer Verlag, page 36:
      Ein frisch gefülltes Glas Champagner stand vor ihm. Er trank es in einem Zug aus – mit Lust, fast mit Begier.
      A freshly filled glass of champaign was in front of him. He emptied it in one draught – with pleasure, almost with greed.
  3. (intransitive) to stay; to be still
  4. (Switzerland) to confront, surrender
    Synonym: sich stellen

Usage notesEdit

The most frequent auxiliary with stehen is haben: Ich habe gestanden. (NB: This expression also happens to be the perfect tense of gestehen: I have confessed.) 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 gestanden.


Derived termsEdit

Further readingEdit