Beside "leben" - to live and "Leben" - life, are there other nouns which have the same form as their verbs?

2 Answers 2


While Erik is completely right, I don't think that you refer to the gerund. We have to differ between living (what Erik's answer is about), and life, lifetime or existence (what your question is about).

There are a couple of words which have a further meaning than just the action of doing something.

  • essen (to eat) - Essen (food, meal) (Note: Also a German town)
  • springen (to jump) - Springen (in sports, e.g. "Skispringen" (ski-jumping))
  • lachen (to laugh) - Lachen (laugh, laughter (the sound))
  • braten (to fry, to barbecue, to roast) - Braten (roast (meat))
  • wagen (to risk, to dare) - Wagen (car, wagon, trolley (Einkaufswagen))
  • leiden (to suffer) - Leiden (complaint (illness), sickness, disease) (also distress (situation) and affliction (pain))
  • fangen (to catch) - Fangen (tag (children's game))
  • streichen (to paint) - Streichen (gait fault of a horse)
  • regen (to stir) - Regen (rain)
  • wissen (to know) - Wissen (knowledge)
  • trinken (to drink) - Trinken (drink) (Note: Getränk is more common)
  • kommen (to come) - Kommen (arrival)
  • leben (to live) - Leben (life, lifetime)

If someone knows a word that is missing yet, please feel free to add or place them in the comments.

  • It might be easier just to edit and add to your answer to keep the list all together than to keep adding comment notes. :-) Great work here though!
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 14:08
  • 1
    @Em1: I've deleted my obsolete comments. After thinking a bit more about those words I see that Trinken is not bad at all, but I guess it's essentially confined to Essen und Trinken in usage. And for Kommen there are indeed some reasonable examples in the Duden. Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 8:49

You can turn most verbs into a noun without changing the form. In general, this has the same effect as creating a verb's gerund in English:

geben -- to give : das Geben -- giving
fliegen -- to fly : das Fliegen -- flying

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