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To pet a dog

What is the verb "to pet" in german?? I couldn't find a proper answer online.

And how would you ask someone if you could pet their dog??

March 10, 2018



It is "ein Tier streicheln". https://www.dict.cc/english-german/to+pet+%5Ban+animal+a+person%5D.html

So I would ask:

Darf ich Ihren Hund streicheln? (In case of formal form of address, using "Sie")

Darf ich deinen Hund streicheln? (In case of informal form of address, using "du").

(Cross-posted with ally.x)

  • 2048

I'd go with Darf ich ihren/deinen Hund streicheln?.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.



    Obviously there's no difference in pronunciation, though :)


    This made me realize: This word streicheln is related to Streichholz (matchstick). You may know the word Streichholzschächtelchen , little box of matches.

    Because you stoke the match on the side of the box, and it is the same movement as petting a dog. :)


    Yes, the words have similar origins. However, the movement you make with the match on the side of the box is not "Streicheln", but "Streichen" (without the "l").

    Although they are related, these are different verbs. I perceive "Streicheln" as a kind of diminutive of "Streichen": "Streichen" is a quite strong movement. For example, you use it for the match:

    Ich streiche mit dem Streichholz an der Schachtel entlang.

    Or for painting a room: Ich streiche die Wände meiner Küche grün.

    Here, "streichen" refers to the brushing movement of the brush on the wall.

    "Streicheln", on the other hand, is softer, less targeted, rather caressing. So, when you say "Ich streichele meinen Hund", everyone knows that you are stroking/petting your dog.

    If you said "Ich streiche meinen Hund", then everybody would assume that you paint it in a different color! :-)


    Thanks for the correction, this is an important difference.

    Is this extra l often a diminutive? I think of lachen and lächeln.


    You are welcome! And no, I don't think that this is very frequent. The verbs "lachen" and "lächeln" are indeed examples of that phenomenon, but I can't think of any further examples.

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