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Word of the Day
Friday, March 31, 2017

Definitions for Weltschmerz

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

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Citations for Weltschmerz
Weltschmerz, the philosophy of the "world-woe," was at its height. Gloomy theology and pessimistic philosophy reigned. , "The Sorrows of Werther," New York Times, September 21, 1910
Cohen confused his mood with his chronic weltschmerz. He spoke at great length on the vicissitudes of a sensitive spirit, his dissatisfaction, the inadequacy of this sphere as far as he was concerned. Daniel Fuchs, Summer in Williamsburg, 1934
Origin of Weltschmerz
Weltschmerz comes from German Welt “world” and Schmerz “pain” (related to English smart “pain”). Weltschmerz is associated with 19th century Romanticism and was coined by the German Romantic writer Jean Paul, the pen name of Jean Paul Friedrich Richter (1763-1825), in his novel Selina (1827). English uses the standard German spelling and the pronunciation of w as v, but English has had the alternative spelling Weltschmertz for about as long a time. Weltschmerz entered English in the 19th century.