Inspired by this question, I wonder if there is also some German relative (dialect or general) of Dutch word "kijken" for to watch or look at something.

I think for example I saw or heard somewhere a comment about "kieken", is this used?

An example where kijken is used

Wil je met me voetbal kijken

which google translates to

Willst du mit mir Fußball gucken?
  • Having zero knowledge about Dutch - could you please provide explantory examples how "kijken" is used and what meanings are common? Otherwise you need an answerer that has a deep understanding about both Dutch and German. Mar 1, 2019 at 11:40
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    Gucken/Kucken. But "kieken" is only used in some parts of the country, usually those not far from the Dutch border (e.g. Münsterland, etc.). <g> Mar 1, 2019 at 17:58
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    Possibly related words in other Germanic languages: kige, kikke (Danish), kika (Swedish and Norwegian), keek (Scottish), peek (English).
    – jkej
    Mar 1, 2019 at 18:46
  • Yep I know. Kika in Swedish especially reminds of kijken. Mar 14, 2019 at 21:13

4 Answers 4


The German for kijken is


sometimes (especially in the South) also written like


Both is standard German, and you can find both forms registered in Der Duden (most authoritative reference dictionary for German).

Kieken, in contrast, is a Northern dialectal form of kucken, and of course it is so to say the bridge to kijken.

There are many common phrases with kucken, e.g.

Kuck mal an! / Kuck mal einer an! / Ja da guck an!

meaning something like: "*Oh, that's indeed surprising!" In Swabian dialect (in the South-West) this would be: Jo do guck naa!.

Da kuckst du, was?

"That's surprising for you, isn't it?"

Mal kucken...

meaning something like: "Okay, I don't know yet, but we will see what brings the future; or simply: "Let's see."

Was kuckst du?

a stereotypical bully phrase of oriental street gang members who want to intimidate somebody who dared to look at them. Pronunciation is then typically more like Wuss kuckstu!

Also a person can

dumm aus der Wäsche kucken

i.e. look stupid after taken by unpleasant surprise by something.

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    Grimm knows everything: woerterbuchnetz.de/DWB?lemma=kiken
    – David Vogt
    Mar 1, 2019 at 11:59
  • @DavidVogt Wow "kiken", that is so cool. Mar 1, 2019 at 12:14
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    my granny (speaking "plattdeutsch") was using a similar: de.wiktionary.org/wiki/kieken , also known in Berlin afaik
    – Tommylee2k
    Mar 1, 2019 at 12:16
  • Isn't this less like a "bridge" over something dividing but a very gentle transition of really one and the same word on the dialect continuum? Cross the Ems eastward and kiecken is still around you? Mar 1, 2019 at 14:56
  • @CarstenS Hm... yes... you might be right. I will change this. Mar 1, 2019 at 15:43

There is a related question on StackExchange Is there any differences between “Gucken” and “Schauen”?.

One of the answers contains this plot from Atlas der Alltagssprache, which shows how people formulate a call like "Look (there)!"

Geographical Distribution of schauen/gucken/...

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    Why does the Cologne area not have "Lur (ens)"? Mar 2, 2019 at 7:04

In the Berlin dialect there is actually "kieken" [ki​ː​​kən] as form of high german "gucken" and I guess that is a heritage of its low german roots. It has the tendency to swallow its surrounding morphemes, e.g. "Da kiekste, wa?" ("Da guckst Du, nicht wahr?") or "Kiekstn so?" ("Was guckst Du so?").


You ask whether there is a German "relative" (i.e., cognate) of the Dutch word. Yes, it is the North German "kieken". According to the experts on etymology, "kieken" is not cognate with "gucken". Their similarity is coincidental.


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    "... nicht verwandten und ebenfalls etymologisch ungeklärten ..." Das sind zwei Aussagen die logisch nicht nebeneinander stehen können.
    – vectory
    Mar 2, 2019 at 20:50
  • @vectory: /i:/ neben /u/ ist lautgeschichtlich nicht zu erklären.
    – fdb
    Mar 2, 2019 at 20:55
  • I~Ü~U are close, individually. You can hear Tüsch for Tisch in certain regions, or read zu Hülf!*~*Hilfe known from Erika Fuchs, and what about Feuer, fire and, I guess, eventually Fuir. U>Ü is a common grammatical alternation, e.g. in Buch>Bücher. So one could posit guck>kuck>Küken>kieken. The only Küken I know would be "chick", "'Cognate to Dutch kuiken, English chicken. A related form is Middle High German kuchil, whence now obsolete Küchlein." "[kuiken] from Middle Dutch kuken, kiken, originally from Proto-Germanic *kiukīną. A modern variant form is kieken." (c) Wiktionary
    – vectory
    Mar 2, 2019 at 21:40
  • Wiktionary makes the more agreeable claim "Compare also German gucken, kucken, which need not be originally related, but has probably been influenced by kieken."
    – vectory
    Mar 2, 2019 at 21:46

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