The verb gleiten has past and perfect forms

glitt, hat geglitten

Entgleiten is also irregular, with the same forms

entglitt, ist entglitten

But begleiten is regular:

begleitete, hat begleitet

The Duden entry of begleiten says


Vermischung von gleichbedeutend veraltetem beleiten (mittelhochdeutsch beleiten, althochdeutsch bileiten) mit ↑geleiten

It seems that the reason why begleiten has a different past and perfect forms than gleiten is that it is not derived from gleiten, but rather a mix of beleiten and geleiten.

What are some other examples of verbs that have different past/perfect forms than their (apparent) roots? How common is this phenomenon?

  • Gleiten, ausgleiten, entgleiten, Gleis, glatt, glitschig ist eine Wortfamilie, die etwas mit der Beschaffenheit einer Oberfläche zu tun hat, sodass bei Bewegung auf dieser Oberfläche sehr geringe Reibung vorhanden ist. Es ist unwahrscheinlich, dass diese Wortfamilie etwas zu tun hat mit leiten, geleiten, begleiten.
    – rogermue
    Oct 22, 2014 at 9:18
  • Note that there are also cases where the same verb, with the same prefix, can have two different conjugations (regular and irregular) depending on the use case. For example, "erschrecken": "du hast mich erschreckt", but "ich bin erschrocken".
    – persson
    Oct 22, 2014 at 21:33

3 Answers 3


I can think of some more examples; (and I guess that there are still even more):

fehlen - fehlte - gefehlt
be-/empfehlen - be-/empfahl - be-/empfohlen

fehlen comes via French from Latin fallere. be-/empfehlen is unrelated and inherited from Germanic.

bergen - barg - geborgen
beherbergen - beherbergte - beherbergt

beherbergen is derived from the noun Herberge; interestingly, Herberge itself contains the verb/root of bergen.

preisen - pries - gepriesen
bepreisen - bepreiste - bepreist

bepreisen is derived from the noun Preis; both preisen and Preis come from Latin pretium/pretiare.

reiten - ritt - geritten
(vor)bereiten - bereitete (vor) - (vor)bereitet

As mentioned by someone in the comments, these two forms are (not very closely) related.

wachsen - wuchs - gewachsen
einwachsen - wachste ein - eingewachst
(from Wachs, wax)

The roots of these two verbs seem to be unrelated: wachsen (to grow) comes from the Indo-european root *aug- (increase). Wachs (wax) comes from *ueg- (weave).

How common is this?
I think there are not so much verbs where this phenomenon occurs (small type frequency); but some of these verbs are quite common, e.g. fehlen, empfehlen, reiten, vorbereiten (high token frequency).

  • 1
    It is worth noting that "einwachsen" has a second meaning that is related to "wachsen". In this meaning it has the same irregular conjugation as "wachsen".
    – Matthias
    Oct 22, 2014 at 12:41
  • AFAIK "preisen - pries - gepriesen" is a rare example of a regular verb that became a strong one.
    – Veredomon
    Oct 22, 2014 at 13:13

This is quite rare indeed. There are certainly similar examples, but at the moment I don't have any that come to mind.

On the above:

entgleiten is being handled like gleiten as they have a similar definition.

begleiten follows the word leiten in terms of grammar.


Here's another one:

reiten / ritt / geritten


bereiten / bereitete / bereitet

I have no time at the moment to check it out, but I'm pretty sure that it is the same case as in your question: reiten and bereiten are etymologically unrelated.

  • 1
    Well, they are. The common root is "reigh"(to ride). But that was long long time ago. "reiten" is just the original root, "bereiten" is derived of a word that had already detached and meant "ready". At that time, no one associated it with "reiten" and hence the conjugation was regular.
    – Emanuel
    Oct 22, 2014 at 10:37
  • It's interesting to learn that ready and reiten are related - as are fertig and fahren.
    – Chris
    Oct 22, 2014 at 11:39

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