German word of the day: Wehtun

Today’s word of the day is one of the many German words that combine an adjective with the verb "do."

Published: Thu 29 Dec 2022 15:00 CEST
German word of the day: Wehtun
Photo: depositphotos

And if that sounds too vague, let me explain. While wehtun means “to hurt”, it literally translates to “sore-do,” as in “something or someone is making me feel sore".

You can use wehtun in many variations, because the words weh and tun can be separated and spread throughout a sentence.

For example, if someone is hurting you, you say “Du tust mir weh.” (“You’re hurting me.”) That means the person who is hurting you is making you feel sore, whether it's used literally for physical pain or figuratively for emotional pain.

That notion can also be used when you are in pain and go to the doctor’s office. There you might describe the place of pain by saying “Mein Kopf/Rücken/Bauch tut mir weh” (“My head/back/tummy hurts.”)

The past tense of the word is wehgetan and – if you have kids – is probably a word you have stumbled across on the playground. It usually doesn’t take long until a child (which just fell off something, probably) runs towards its parents, crying: “Ich habe mir wehgetan” (“I hurt myself.”)

And because I was talking about other words that combine an adjective and the verb “to do” in the beginning of this article, here are some short examples: abtun (to dismiss), wegtun (To put/throw away), auftun (to find/to open up/to put food on a plate).

Wehtun is a word quite common in the German language, as you can see.


Mein Kopf tut mir weh.

My head hurts.

Hör auf damit, du tust ihm weh!

Stop it; you are hurting him!

Sie hat mir wehgetan.

She hurt me.



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