to give a share
("abgeben von" - usually for small scale things like sharing a piece of your pizza)
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to hand over, to turn in
(For items that you "turn in", like a phone at the door of a yoga retreat. Also for some borrowed things like a bike or a car. And for roles and responsibilities.)
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to be, to make for
("etwas+Acc abgeben" - Colloquial phrase for objects and people doing a surprisingly good job in a function that they weren't made for.)
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to deal with, to occupy oneself with
("sich+Acc abgeben mit" - Usually used in the negative, either for tasks you don't want to deal with or people you (don't) want to get involved with.)
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German Prefixes Explained - "ab"


ab, bergab, abwärts, abmachen, abgehen, ablegen, abfangen, absagen, abwarten

Word Family

Root: *ghabh-

The core idea of this root was:

grabbing, taking

The meaning of geben and to give comes from the idea of grabbing something to hand it to someone, but the family is more diverse than that.
It’s also the origin of the families of habit and hibit, which both come from the Latin verb habere, which meant to hold. That’s also where able is from, which evolved from the word habilitate.

And also part of the family are due, duty and debt. They all go back to a Latin verb debere, which was about the idea of having to give someone something, and which is nothing other than a combination of de- with … habere again.
Here’s a list of the most important English relatives:

  • debt (having to give)
  • duty (having to give)
  • due (having to give)
  • able (capable of “holding”)
  • habit (something you “hold”)
  • inhabit (holding a place and living there)
  • inhibit (holding in)
  • exhibit (holding outward)
  • prohibit (holding/taking away)
  • to give
  • gift
  • forgive (give away)
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