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1.
to stroke
(Usually in context of running your fingers through your hair. Not very common otherwise)
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2.
to paint
(For bigger surfaces and apartments. NOT for art, that would be "malen")
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3.
to cancel
(You cross something off the figurative calendar)
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4.
to spread
(in context of spreadable food. ALWAYS combined with a specification as to where you're spreading something.)
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5.
to stroll, to walk
(VERY rare, and only used in fixed phrasings (um die Häuser streichen). I think the original idea is from staying close to the walls, like a cat. Spoken past is built with "sein" here.)
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Word of the Day - "streichen"

A fun look at the family of "streichen" and what painting your wall has to do with emphasis, petting your cat and pranks.

Vocab:

streichen, durchstreichen, der Strich, der Aufstrich, der Abstrich, streicheln, der Streich


Word Family

Root: *streig-

The core idea of this root was:

stroking, rubbing

The German source I am using (DWDS.de) says that it’s probably an extension of the root *ster- which was about spreading, stretching out (find more here: *ster(e)-) .

This would mean that besides streichen, also Strahl (ray), streifen (strip) and streuen (strew) would be part of this family, but the English sources I have seen do not mention this at all.

English family members are definitely related are strike, stroke, stripe and streak.

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Jalal
Jalal
2 years ago

according to Duden.de, streichen’s past tense can be made by both ist and hat. When it means “to paint” or “to cut/delete” the perfekt has to be made by adding a conjugated form of “haben” to the past participle.