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I have been sent a document from Lübeck dated 1928 where the word "mohnhaft" in reference to a record made about my grandmother. Can you help? I'll gladly send a copy of the document.

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    You should supply a copy of the document.
    – Paul Frost
    Jan 12 at 23:23
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    @HubertSchölnast, except for a misreading, this can be answered by a dictionary. An answer would not be useful to anyone else in the future. I have therefore now voted to close, I should have done that in the first place.
    – Carsten S
    Jan 13 at 11:20

1 Answer 1

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This word makes no sense.

  • Mohn (noun) = papaver
  • -haft (suffix) = -ish, -ly, -ous, ...

So, mohnhaft would mean papaverish, papaverly, papaverous or something like that. But that makes absolutely no sense, especially in an official document.

But there is a German word that exists and makes perfect sense, and its natural habitat is even the realm of official documents:

wohnhaft = resident

an einem Ort wohnhaft sein = to be resident in a place

The first part (wohn-) is the stem of the verb wohnen.

The second part (-haft) is the same as just described, but when added to a verb, it is often better to translate is as -ing, although that is not exactly the same, but it's the best you can get in English, because by adding -haft to a word, the resulting word is an adjective. But adding -ing in English does not change the status of a verb being a verb.

Another way, that only works with a small number of verbs, is adding -ent to turn it into an adjective. This works well with to reside → resident but not with the other verbs that can be used as translation of wohnen.

So, here are translations that work:

Er ist in Wien wohnhaft. = He is living in Vienna.
Er ist in Wien wohnhaft. = He is resident in Vienna.

However, as living is not an adjective, but resident is, the word resident comes closer to the original meaning of the German word.

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    The question is obviously based on a reading error and has no value for anyone but OP. Everything else stated in this answer can be found in a dictionary.
    – Olafant
    Jan 13 at 11:27

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