Dictionary verb *streig- streichen


to stroke
(Usually in context of running your fingers through your hair. Not very common otherwise)
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to paint
(For bigger surfaces and apartments. NOT for art, that would be "malen")
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to cancel
(You cross something off the figurative calendar)
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to spread
(in context of spreadable food. ALWAYS combined with a specification as to where you're spreading something.)
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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.


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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