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The surprising connection between “doubt” and “Zweifel”

der Zweifel is the German word for doubt.  And there’s actually a really simple way to never ever forget this again.
Because what most people aren’t aware of, both in German and English, is what’s at the core of these words:

the number two

In German, two is zwei and in Latin, which doubt is originally from, it is duo. And that makes perfect sense, because having doubt is indeed kind of being of two minds.

So, with that in mind I’m pretty sure der Zweifel is going to be a word you’ll never forget.

If you want to learn more about it and get to know the related verbs like zweifeln, bezweifeln or verzeifeln, you can check out this article on YourDailyGerman:


How to “doubt” in German


Oh, by the way… Zweifel and doubt are not only both based on the idea of two, they’re actually kin. Because two, zwei, duo and double and also di- and bi- all come from the same ancient Indo-European root *dwo-. And there are plenty of other surprising relatives like twig, twitch or binary.