The Alternative English Dictionary: angst

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Entry definition

angst {{was wotd}} etymology From the German word Angst or the Danish word angst; attested since the 19th century in English translations of the works of Freud and Søren Kierkegaard. (George Eliot used the phrase complete with definite article: "die Angst".) Initially capitalized (as in German and contemporaneous Danish), the term first began to be written with a lowercase "a" around 1940–44.{{R:Merriam Webster Online|angst}}{{|angst}}[ Online Etymology Dictionary, "angst"] The German and Danish terms both derive from Middle High German angest, from Old High German angust, from Proto-Germanic *angustiz; Dutch angst is cognate. Compare Swedish ångest. pronunciation
  • (Canada) /æŋ(k)st/
  • {{audio}}
  • (Canada) /eɪŋ(k)st/
  • {{rhymes}}
noun: {{en-noun}}
  1. Emotional turmoil; painful sadness.
    • 1979, Peter Hammill, Mirror images I've begun to regret that we'd ever met / Between the dimensions. / It gets such a strain to pretend that the change / Is anything but cheap. / With your infant pique and your angst pretensions / Sometimes you act like such a creep.
    • 2007, Martyn Bone, Perspectives on Barry Hannah (page 3) Harry's adolescence is theatrical and gaudy, and many of its key scenes have a lurid and camp quality that is appropriate to the exaggerated mood-shifting and self-dramatizing of teen angst.
  2. A feeling of acute but vague anxiety or apprehension often accompanied by depression, especially philosophical anxiety.
verb: {{en-verb}}
  1. (informal) To suffer angst; to fret.
    • 2001, Joseph P Natoli, Postmodern Journeys: Film and Culture, 1996-1998 In the second scene, the camera switches to the father listening, angsting, dying inside, but saying nothing.
    • 2006, Liz Ireland, Three Bedrooms in Chelsea She'd never angsted so much about her head as she had in the past twenty-four hours. Why the hell hadn't she just left it alone?
  • 'ganst
  • gnats
  • stang
  • tangs

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