Philosophical German words

No discussion of German loan words in English would be complete without the philosophical pair Weltanschauung and Weltschmerz.

Granted, they are neither particularly useful in everyday conversation nor easy to pronounce but nevertheless they seemed important enough and missing in the English language that they got adopted despite these shortcomings.

Jean Paul, the man we owe "Weltschmerz" to, pic:

Weltanschauung means “comprehensive world view,” a philosophy or conception of the world, universe, and human life.  It also refers to the framework of ideas and beliefs through which an individual interprets the world and interacts with it.

I was looking for the origin of the word or the philosopher who coined it but didn’t find anything definite.  The word is old which in the end isn’t that surprising, it is a very German concept and has probably been used for a long time.

Speaking of German concepts: Weltschmerz – “world pain,” or the melancholy over the state of the world is probably even more so typically German. Weltschmerz expresses pessimism associated with the poets of the Romantic era that arose from their refusal or inability to adjust to those realities of the world that they saw as destructive of their right to subjectivity and personal freedom.   The expression was coined by the writer Jean Paul, who despite his French sounding name, is a German romantic writer.

Enough philosophy for one day.


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