Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

Angst

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

Angst

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:53 pm

• angst •


Pronunciation: ænkst, ahnkst • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: 1. Anxiety, fear, dread, or remorse caused by a situation, such as international politics or approaching maturity for teenagers. 2. (Existentialist philosophy) The dread that arises from the realization that we are free to choose as we please.

Notes: Today's Good Word is a rather more lofty word for anxiety, differing from it in referring to anxiety on a larger scale. A final examination in college might cause anxiety but it would take the complexities of the passage into maturity or guilt for indirect complicity in the horrors of Nazism to cause angst. Angst is a philosophical anxiety. An adjective, angsty, has already reared its rather facetious head in phrases like: the angsty young resistors to the Vietnam War.

In Play: Today's word refers to a sense of unsettledness, dread for a large, unfocused danger or threat: "I simply don't see how any amount of tattooing is going to resolve your coming-of-age angst, son." This word may be used to refer to smaller anxieties, but the implication is that they are larger than they seem: "Many English-speaking authors are encumbered by their angst over English punctuation."

Word History: Today's Good Word was originally the German word for anxiety, but the existentialist philosophers introduced it in sense 2 above in the early 20th century. From there it migrated to armchair philosophers, then to the media and, finally, into general usage, by which time its meaning had evolved into sense 1. The original root came directly to English in anger (anxiety [ang-ziety] was borrowed from French anxiété). Hangnail started out in Old English as ang-nægl "painful nail, corn" when ang was still around. Nægl became nail but ang disappeared, so speakers replaced ang with a similar sounding word that still existed, hang, by the process called folk etymology.
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3560
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: Angst

Postby MTC » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:16 am

Angstrom: The smallest unit of angst. One hundredth the quantum of angst experienced by a typical teenager on an average day.

Usage: As high school graduation day approached, the needle on Melvin's angstrometer quivered and crept upward, angstrom by angstrom, until it seemed the hinges of his very being began to vibrate and come free.

from the Apocrypha of MTC
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: Angst

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:13 am

MTC: Your example sentence for the word you coined could be the beginning of an exciting novel. It certainly is an attention getter and beats, "It was a cold dark night ..." by a country mile.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1774
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: Angst

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:37 am

Among philosophers existential angst is always the result of the human condition of finitude, with Sartre and Kierkegaard the godfathers. Teenage angst is best portrayed in the classical coming-of-age novels, where one's whole plan of life seems to hang in the balance. It's fraught, man, fraught!
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2386
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: Angst

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:49 pm

It's fraught, dude, it's fraught. (heh,heh)
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3472
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: Angst

Postby MTC » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:32 pm

For dudes who insist on being serious about angst, here's a snippet from a longer article on the subject in today's N.Y. Times which picks up Perry's point:

"This truth — which, confusingly enough, doubles as the source of anxiety’s pain — is of the essential uncertainty and perilousness of human life. Its fragility and evanescence."

(http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... y_20130715)

Anyway, back to the Great American Novel, "It was a dark and stormy night, and Melvin's angstrometer was off the scale..."
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: Angst

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:55 pm

Just for the record, and angstrom is one ten billionth of a meter!
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2386
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: Angst

Postby MTC » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:50 pm

The words of Humpty Dumpty come to mind:

'And only one for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'
'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'
'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'

from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: Angst

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:09 pm

Classic! A favorite.
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2386
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA


Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Exabot [Bot], Google [Bot] and 2 guests