I'm familiar with the expression "kannst du knicken" to mean "forget it", but can "Ich habe es geknickt" be used to express the idea of deciding against something (in the past tense)?

  • 2
    No. But I can’t elaborate on why.
    – Stephie
    Commented Oct 21, 2021 at 11:08
  • I added the colloquial tag, since even the infinitive form looks questionable in writing.
    – guidot
    Commented Oct 21, 2021 at 11:40
  • 2
    I would not have understood Ich habe es geknickt had I not been told what it is supposed to mean. Intersting to see that quite a few people here seem to have no issue with it.
    – johnl
    Commented Oct 21, 2021 at 16:23
  • @johnl Austrian native speaker here. I also haven't heard this use of "knicken" in my whole life. To me personally it sounds like something a foreigner would say when they can't remember the correct word (which I'd say is "aufgegeben", "hingeschmissen" or something like that). From the sound I'd guess it has to be a very North-Germany thing.
    – MaxD
    Commented Oct 21, 2021 at 23:37
  • 1
    @ShegitBrahm I assume the "long-winded explanation" is needed for any colloqiual abbreviation - well I wouldn't think so. A widely known phrase doesn't need explanations, this is why it exists. Why would you use a short phrase for something that nobody understands and you know you will have to add an explanation? If such a phrase needed an explanation then it would be quite worthless.
    – puck
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 9:12

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can. At least: I did and do so and I get my message delivered.

So the infinitive of the verb would be "etwas knicken". Thus the usual rules for "knicken" apply "in general". Just with the addition that it is combined with "haben" instead of "sein". And that "etwas/es" is always present gramatically - and still get usually (visually) ommitted in colloqiual speech: Das habe ich geknickt. = Hab' ich geknickt.

I found this quote in a forum from round about 2013:

  • (quote made by E. W.)

Post by C. S.:

Post by E. W.:

Variante 2, nebenbei eine weisse Konblauchsauce herstellen und die Mupfeln nach dem Kochen abgiessen und darin versenken.

Ich finde das würde den feinen Geschmack von den Muscheln völlig tot schlagen, Ede.

Ich gebe Dir Recht.
Ich habe es geknickt.

In this forum discussion, person E. W. proposes something about cooking. C.S. speaks against about it. And later E. W. confirms that the decision made was against own proposal. While there is no causal determination that E. W. talked about a past or present decision, I take it from the time stamps that there is actual doing in the kitchen involved.

While I personally would use "Hab' ich geknickt." to talk in a colloquial manner, your proposal is just fine. Instead of saying that someone else should "not think about it happening" it says that I decided to "not make it happen".

I guess it is due to "colloqiual" that I did not find a more "reputable" source.


Of course you can. I don't know, if it is common, but I immediately understood what you were trying to say. And that's the point.

kannst du knicken

is common and everybody who knows that one, will understand the other version. The grammar is also perfectly fine.

  • 4
    it’s not necessarily immediately obvious depending on the context. If you reply to „kannst du Knicken“ mit „ok, habe es geknickt“ then it should be clear. But if you say „Ich habe nicht verstanden wie man aus Gras eine Pfeiffe macht. Ich habe es dann geknickt.“ then that would be quite confusing (those are two extreme examples but I guess there can be a similar ambigues context which might lead to the receiver not even thinking about the expression.
    – eckes
    Commented Oct 22, 2021 at 2:28
  • 2
    @eckes Right, but the same is true for "kannst Du knicken". The meaning depends on the context.
    – Paul Frost
    Commented Oct 22, 2021 at 7:40
  • @PaulFrost yes But it’s much more common
    – eckes
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 18:56

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