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ergehen

Meanings

1.
to get through going
(That's the very literal meaning, but it's quite rare. You could use it in the context of a walking competition or getting a shredded body through walking. )
2.
to be for someone, to turn out for someone
("jemandem ergehen" - Someone poetic word for the idea of how someone was/is/will be faring. Think of meeting someone after 6 months. It's only used in books though and sounds old school. And it's hard to use anyway. )
3.
to be passed, to be issued
(For laws and certain orders. Sounds VERY formal and you do not hear this word in daily life. The law or regulation is the subject.)
4.
to indulge in, to get lost on
("sich+Acc ergehen in+Acc" - ONLY for figurative contexts like indulging in platitudes or dreams. Very rare. I never hear it in daily life, except a couple of fixed phrasings.)
5.
to endure something, to submit to something
("etwas über sich+Acc ergehen lassen" - literally to let something "go over" you. Think of a thorough pet down at the airport for example. This phrasing is fairly common in daily life. )

Word Family

Root: *ghē-

The core idea of this root was:

going away, disappearing

This is also commonly considered the origin of to go but other relations are not certain.

The English to go is defective in the sense that it doesn’t have its own past tense form. And it hasn’t had one for more than a thousand years. Instead, it uses the form went, which is taken from the verb to wend. It’s unclear, why to go is defective.

German gehen does have its own past form, but according to German etymologist, the cluster of gehen is actually a combination of two families – one being the one of to go and the other being that of the word of English gang, which ironically was originally about making steps.

Yeah… I know… this was already a bit too nerdy. We’re here to learn German, not do science :)

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