Open main menu



From Middle High German vergeben, from Old High German fargeban, from Proto-Germanic *fragebaną. Analyzable as ver- +‎ geben. Cognate with Dutch vergeven, English forgive, Icelandic fyrirgefa.


  • IPA(key): /fɛʁˈɡeːbən/, /fɐ-/, [fɛɐ̯ˈɡeːbən], [fɐˈɡeːbən], [-ˈɡeːbm̩]
  • (file)


vergeben (class 5 strong, third-person singular simple present vergibt, past tense vergab, past participle vergeben, past subjunctive vergäbe, auxiliary haben)

  1. (transitive or intransitive, + dative) to forgive
    Kannst du mir vergeben?
    Can you forgive me?
    Vergib mir meine Sünden!
    Forgive me my sins.
  2. (transitive, with an + accusative) to assign; to allocate; to give (a job); to give or set (a task); to award (a contract)
    Wir haben den Auftrag an ein Drittunternehmen vergeben.
    We have awarded the contract to an external company.

Usage notesEdit

  • Vergeben implies a greater degree of moral guilt than verzeihen. It is used in the context of sin or crime, or otherwise of severe misbehaviour, such as acts of violence, insult, humiliation, deceit, and the like.
  • The noun corresponding to the sense “to forgive” is Vergebung, while that corresponding to the sense “to assign” is Vergabe.




vergeben (not comparable)

  1. taken; not free
  2. (informal) not single: married or in a relationship

Further readingEdit