Einprägen ist der Vorgang wenn ein Abdruck in einem verformbaren Material hinterlassen wird, das Resultat ist ein Relief auf dem Materialstück. Daneben kann man auch „sich etwas einprägen“ - einen bestimmten Handlungsablauf oder bestimmte Daten sich besonders genau merken.

In der Alltagssprache werden nur Münzen geprägt. Technisch ist das Prägen wohl allgemeiner als Druckumformung auf einem ebenen Materialstück definiert (der Unterschied zum Einprägen besteht wohl hauptsächlich darin, dass beim Prägen die Druckrichtung nicht definiert ist).


I sort of understand this, but I feel this explanation is not a 100% clear to me. To explain the reason why, consider the example below:

ein katholisch geprägtes Land
a predominantly Catholic country

Now, how do I use the interpretation given of praegen as an "undirectional imprinting" to understand the above...? I don't think it is possible

  • 1
    I suggest you use DWDS to check the (usually multiple) meanings of words. Here, see number 2 in dwds.de/wb/pr%C3%A4gen.
    – Roland
    Aug 19, 2022 at 4:45
  • I am new to that. Could you kindly walk me through how I can use that site to solve this issue here? It has been suggested to me before but I have not understood how to use it. Aug 19, 2022 at 5:56
  • 1. You need to understand that "prägen" and "einprägen" are simply different words. They are related but different. 2. Only "etw. prägt etw., jmdn." can carry the meaning "etw. beeinflusst und formt etw., jmdn." (something influences and shapes something/somebody).
    – Roland
    Aug 19, 2022 at 6:02
  • Hmm, I just started reading but I would like to say I understood 1. really early on. Aug 19, 2022 at 6:03
  • Yes, but you need to focus on the correct meaning. The example does not use "prägen" with the meaning you quote at the top of your question.
    – Roland
    Aug 19, 2022 at 6:05

2 Answers 2


Let us start with "prägen", as it is the root of everything.

"to prägen" means to exert pressure onto something (usually a piece of metal), leaving a relief (imprint). This is the base meaning of "prägen" and it is translated by "to stamp", "to emboss", to "imprint", etc..

A secondary, derived from that material, meaning is "to imprint" or "to influence".

Die Stadt wurde den Habsburgern geprägt.

Means the city was influenced by the Habsburgers in a way that it still shows - maybe they preferred a certain type of architecture which is now prevalent or something such.

"einprägen" is also derived from "prägen": it can be used synonymously with "prägen", but it has a secondary, derived meaning, when it is used reflexively: sich [etwas] einprägen means to commit something to memory in a way so that it lasts.

In English there is also to imprint sth. on so's memory/mind or to inculcate sth. in so. with the same meaning.




  • to emboss
  • to imprint
  • to stamp
  • to coin
  • to engrave
  • to shape
  • to form
  • to mint

and many more. See prägen on dict.leo.org

The original meaning is:

Er prägt eine Münze.
He mints a coin.

But there are also figurative meanings:

Kindheitserlebnisse prägen jeden Menschen.
Childhood experiences shape every person.

Die Religion prägt die Kultur.
Religion shapes culture.

Read more about the many meanings of prägen on Wiktionary or DWDS



  • to stamp
  • to impress
  • to emboss
  • to engrave

and many more. It is a separable verb. See einprägen on dict.leo.org.

The original meaning is

Er prägt der Münze das Bild des Königs ein.
He imprints the image of the king on the coin.

But there are also figurative meanings:

Ich präge mir dein Gesicht ein.
I'm memorizing your face.

Read more about the many meanings of einprägen on Wiktionary or DWDS

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