Pronounced velt-shmehrts

From the German welt, meaning 'world', and schmerz, which can be translated as 'pain', 'grief', or 'agony'. Weltschmerz is often translated as world-sorrow, or world-weariness. It is often capitalized.

1. World-weariness.

2. Sadness over the state of the world. (Many dictionaries define it as "sadness over the woes of the world", or "Sadness over the inability of the world to live up to ideals").

3. Pessimism, especially romantic pessimism.

4. A mood of sentimental sadness.

5. Slang for heroin withdrawal.

A German word, also used in English.

Weltschmerz is the romantic notion of nihilistic subjectivism: deep pessimism about the state of the world, and its collapse into evil. It may be in the rejection of faith, with an accompanying aversion to science, or the frustration of meeting the impossible demands of a self-imposed quest for meaning, and finding only misery.

It comes from the words "Welt" and "schmerz", which mean "world", and "pain" (or "bad"), respectively. In the original German, the W is pronounced with as a V, but this has generally dropped in English usage.

It is synonymous with world-weariness, but journalists of the avant-garde don't talk about world-weariness anymore. Weltschmerz is currently most often used in the context of living a life of sorrow, with the only consolation being the void which removes all capacity for thought and memory. That happiness can only be found in illusion, and that illusion will always be seen for what it is.

The french refer to weltschmerz as "Mal de siècle".

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