• synonyms


or welt·schmerz

noun German.
  1. sorrow that one feels and accepts as one's necessary portion in life; sentimental pessimism.
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Origin of Weltschmerz

literally, world-pain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

nervousness, apprehension, agony, misgiving, uneasiness, dread, blues, depression, Weltschmerz

Examples from the Web for weltschmerz

Historical Examples

  • Solomon Gabirol may be said to have been the first poet thrilled by Weltschmerz.

    Jewish Literature and Other Essays

    Gustav Karpeles

  • It was no longer the Weltschmerz, but a Privatschmerz,32 that afflicted me.

  • Well, it is a form of Weltschmerz, and only afflicts the well-fed.

  • Weltschmerz is essentially a symptom of a period of conflict, of transition.

  • And just as his ideals are vague and abstract, so too are the expressions of his Weltschmerz.

British Dictionary definitions for weltschmerz


  1. sadness or melancholy at the evils of the world; world-weariness
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Word Origin

literally: world pain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for weltschmerz


"pessimism about life," 1875, from German Weltschmerz, coined 1810 by Jean Paul Richter, from Welt "world" (see world) + Schmerz "pain" (see smart (n.)). Popularized in German by Heine.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper