www.duden.de does not include "dargeben".
Grimms Wörterbuch does - but has a lot of different definitions.
How should "dar(zu)geben" be translated in the below cited context?
(Letter August 1870 from the Norwegian Professor of Philosophy Marcus Jacob Monrad postponing his attendance at a meeting in the German "philosophischen Gesellschaft" due to the French-German war.)

"[Ich] kann daher an 27ten [August 1870] in der philosophischen Gesellschaft nur im Geiste gegenwärtig sein. Glücklicher Weise gibt es hoch über dem irdischen Taumel, wo Völker und Fürsten feindlich zusammenstossen um die blutige Sühne ihrer Endlichkeit/Leidenschaften darzugeben, ein erhabenes, ruhiges, ewigheiteres Reich der Wissenschaft, wo alles Kampf nur wahrer Friede ist, wo die edelsten Geister, die sanft durch Raum und Zeit, durch Nationalität und politische Interessen geschieden sind, sich froh und freundlich, begegnen können."

2 Answers 2


Just a guess, but perhaps it's similar to darbringen. This one should really be in a modern dictionary though imo. There are many examples of it being used, some recently, see results from DWDS usage database. You can find the entry in Grimm's DWB here. I'm thinking it's meaning 1aβ (basically opfern).

  • »Opfern« means giving up something reluctantly because there is no other way to get out of an otherwise hopeless situation. But dargeben means that it comes from your heart and that you don't expect anything in return. It means giving something away voluntarily to please someone or to thank someone for something. Jan 3, 2022 at 7:39
  • It's "opfern" (to sacrifice) in a religious sense, not in the modern sense of giving up something, and I agree that darbringen and dargeben are similar and can mean reluctantly (widerstrebend), but mean voluntarily in the sense that's it's an active deed. In old religious texts in the DWDS corpora you'll find it in contexts like "Christus hat sich dargegeben für die Menschen" (Christ has sacrificed/surrendered himself for mankind).
    – HalvarF
    Jan 3, 2022 at 13:30
  • "Some recently": Only 5 of 429 hits in the DWDS corpus are post-1900.
    – David Vogt
    Jan 3, 2022 at 16:46
  • @David Vogt: Yes, it would probably be added with a dated or even obsolete label attached. I thought it looked more promising a month ago. I could have added it to Wiktionary myself if I'd felt strongly about it.
    – RDBury
    Jan 3, 2022 at 19:49

The separable verb »dargeben« became extinct in most German speaking regions. But it still is used in southern regions of the German speaking area (South-Tyrol in Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and roughly the German states Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria). But even in these regions it is a rare and very old-fashioned word.

The fact that it is so rare and even extinct in many regions is why you find it in such an old dictionary like Grimms Wörterbuch but not in modern dictionaries.

It's meaning covers roughly the field where the meanings of hingeben (to devote, to give away, to indulge) and darbringen (to offer, to present) overlap. Dargeben means to offer something in a humbly, lowly and devote manner.

The core of your sentence is:

Völker und Fürsten geben die blutige Sühne ihrer Endlichkeit/Leidenschaften dar.

Nations and princes offer (and give away) the bloody expiation of their finiteness/passions in a humbly and devote manner.

  • Agree with everything except for the "humbly, lowly and devote manner" part. It can be meant that way, but in the example given in the OP I don't see it.
    – HalvarF
    Jan 3, 2022 at 13:37

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