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  5. Herkunft von "Verschieden(e)"


Herkunft von "Verschieden(e)"

Hallo zusammen! I was recently looking up etymologies of a lot words for something I'm working on and one of the things that came up was "verscheiden(e)" in Dutch. Thing is, I couldn't find anything on it really; it was a bit bizarre actually. Since I could tell the word was just ver- + scheiden, I tried seeing if there was anything noteworthy about the etymology of scheiden. There wasn't anything special. I then turned to German thinking that I could find more answers there by trying to find the etymology of verschieden(e) since it's the cognate to the Dutch word (and actually means close to the same thing surprisingly). The results actually came up the same as with the Dutch.

What I did find out (or rather was reminded of) was the fact that in both Dutch and German, the verb verscheiden is used as a polite way of saying someone's died (e.g. "to pass away" in English). And that only served to confuse me even more because in all of my searching all I could find was stuff saying that the adjective verschieden(e) came from the past participle of the verb verscheiden.

So how does a word meaning "passed away" come to mean "several, various, distinct"? I'm asking here since I know there are others much better at scouring the internet for this kind of information than I am. Perhaps someone even has access to some awesome resources not many others would. And even if you don't know the answer, I think it would still be fun to discuss the possible ways in which the participle underwent conversion to birth this new adjective.

July 3, 2017



Scheiden in general means that something separates.

(Dahin)scheiden means the somebody separates from life, i.e. that person died.

Die Scheide has several meanings, i.e. die Schwertscheide (sword sheath), die weibliche Scheide (the vagina), or die Wegscheide (bifurcation of a road). Scheidung means divorce of a married couple, abscheiden means to separate a mixtures of materials, e.g oil from water.

In this sense verschieden refers to a variety of things which are not same, they are separated from each other.

At least this is my theory.



Compare also entscheiden, where you have to separate the two (or more) possible choices in order to pick one.


Thank you for your reply! (and mizinamo too!) I think it's starting to make a bit more sense now, even how verscheiden is used for someone's passing as well. So which do you think came first? The use of verscheiden's past participle for 'several, various, distinct' or the use of verscheiden as a way of saying someone's passed away?


Yes, I would say nearly the same.

I do not have an etymological dictionary for German, but I searched the internet and found this (sorry, these articles are in German, but they are short):



I'm working on and one of the things that came up was "verscheiden(e)" in Dutch

"verscheidene" in Dutch

Accent: fer'skeidene
Woordsoort: bnw.
Kenmerken: (Hollandisme).
Modern-Nederlandse lemmavorm: verscheidene
Uitspraak: fəskɛi̯dənə, fəskai̯dənə
Datering: ca. 1815→
Vergelijk: → ferskate.

Source: http://gtb.inl.nl/
© 2007-2010, Instituut voor Nederlandse Lexicologie.

"verscheiden" in Dutch

Woordsoort: ww., zelfst., intr., st., kl.7
Modern lemma: verscheiden
Oudste attestatie: 1151-1200
Frequentie: totaal: 1, appellatieven: 1
Etymologie: Cognaten: Oudhoogduits firsceidan, Middelhoogduits verscheiden, Nieuwhoogduits verscheiden.

Morfologie: afleiding, basiswoord (werkwoord): skēthon ‘scheiden’; prefix: far ‘weg van’. Flexie: 3e sg.conj.pret. uerscêithe (1)

Overige historische woordenboeken: VMNW: verscheiden (III) (st. ww. trans., intr., refl.), MNW: verscheiden (st. (en zw.) ww. trans., wederk. en intr.), WNT: verscheiden (I) (bedr., onz. en wederk. st. ww.) ↪1. Verscheiden, sterven.

Source: http://gtb.inl.nl/
© 2007-2010, Instituut voor Nederlandse Lexicologie.


Wow! What is this beautiful resource you've shown me!? It's almost everything I could want out of an etymological dictionary. Thank you so much!


You're welcome. Thanks for the lingots.

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