1. Is there any interesting story, etymological or otherwise, behind German adjectives that end in an e the way lose and leise do? (Why can't they be just los and leis?)

  2. Are there other adjectives ending in an e?


According to this Wiktionary page, lose is a separate word from los and its predicative form is lose. That is to say, one writes:

Es ist lose.


Es ist groß.

But when modifying a substantive, lose behaves just as los might have. For example, ein loses Stück. Looking at this you might think it is made of los + es just as großes (in ein großes Stück) is made of groß and es.

The only other adjective I know which ends in e in the same sense is leise:

Seid bitte leise!

In general German adjectives don't seem to like ending in a vowel. I could only think of three that do:

frei, neu, treu.

  • 4
    Some more examples: "böse", "fade", "feige", "gerade", "marode", "müde", "mürbe", "öde", "prüde", "rüde", "träge", "weise". Note that for many of these the final "e" is optional, and that there may be regional preferences for the form with or without "e".
    – Uwe
    Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 16:16

1 Answer 1


There are even much more adjectives ending in -e:

behände, etepetete, flügge, frigide, gelinde, gerade, greise, irre, kirre, klasse, knülle, krude, leise, lose, marode, meschugge, morbide, müde, mürbe, perfide, pleite, präzise, prüde, rege, rigide, rüde, schade, scheiße, schnöde, schnuppe, solide, vage, valide, weise

And of course there are some foreign adjectives, but they don't count in this case:

al dente, aubergine, benigne, liquide, live, beige, maligne, offline, offshore, online, papabile, up to date

But more interesting is this list:

alleine, bange, blöde, böse, derbe, fade, feige, milde, nahe, öde, rapide, sachte, spröde, stupide, träge, trübe, zähe

They all end in -e, but all of them have a second form without this ending -e, and (less obvious) they all have one syllable less:

allein, bang, blöd, bös, derb, fad, feig, mild, nah, öd, rapid, sacht, spröd, stupid, träg, trüb, zäh

Many German words end in a Reduktionssilbe. This is an unstressed syllable at the end of a word. The written form of such a syllable always contains the letter e as its vowel, and often there is no consonant after this e. In this case (a German word ending in an unstressed -e) this vowel is always pronounced as a mid central vowel [ə].

But in colloquial speech (which varies regionally) and in local dialects this vowel often is omitted:

Schule → Schul
Stunde → Stund
Leute → Leut
Auge → Aug
Aufgabe → Aufgab

You can find evidence of such omitted e's in many poems and lyrics, and it is usual to mark this omitted e with an apostrophe: »Schul’, Stund’, Leut’, ...«

Also many nouns used to end in -e in dative case:

old: dem Raume, dem Manne, dem Worte, ...
new: dem Raum, dem Mann, dem Wort, ...

When you compare German from 19th century with modern German, you will find, that many of those ending e's got lost, and this process is still going on, and it is transforming adjectives too. The adjectives with two forms are examples for this process, and the adjectives where only the form with -e exists, are just the ones that survived this process.

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