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survivor guilt

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noun Psychiatry.

feelings of guilt for having survived a catastrophe in which others died.

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Origin of survivor guilt

First recorded in 1970–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Cultural definitions for survivor guilt

survivor guilt

A deep sense of guilt, combined often with feelings of numbness and loss of interest in life, felt by those who have survived some catastrophe. It was first noticed among survivors of the Holocaust. Survivors often feel that they did not do enough to save those who died or that they are unworthy relative to the perished.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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