Now it carries shades of philosophical brooding mixed with a dash of psychoanalytic, clinical turmoil. While anxiety and angst are often interchangeable, anxiety foregrounds a feeling of suffering also present in angst , while angst foregrounds dissatisfaction, a complaint about the way the world is. Ennui is the French word for boredom. The English word "annoy" comes from an early, 13th century borrowing of the word, but it was borrowed again during the height of 18th century European romanticism, when it stood for a particular, fashionable kind of boredom brought on by weariness with the world.
Young people at that time, feeling that the promises of the French Revolution had gone unfulfilled, took on an attitude of lethargic disappointment, a preoccupation with the fundamental emptiness of existence. Nothing mattered, so nothing roused the passions. By the middle of the 19th century, ennui became associated with the alienation of industrialization and modern life. Artists and poets suffered from it, and soon a claim to ennui was a mark of spiritual depth and sensitivity.
It implied feelings of superiority and self-regard, the idea being that only bourgeois people too deluded or stupid to see the basic futility of any action could be happy. Now, in English, though it is defined as "a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction," ennui also has connotations of self-indulgent posturing and European decadence.
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Are you tired, so tired of everything about the world and the way it is? Do you proclaim this, with a long, slow sigh, to everyone around you? You've got ennui. Weltschmerz, German for "world pain," was also coined during the Romantic Era and is in many ways the German version of ennui. It describes a world weariness felt from a perceived mismatch between the ideal image of how the world should be with how it really is.
In German philosophy it was distinguished from pessimism, the idea that there is more bad than good in the world, because while pessimism was the logical conclusion of cool, rational philosophical pondering, weltschmerz was an emotional response. Though weltschmerz and ennui are pretty close synonyms, ennui foregrounds the listlessness brought on by world weariness it can also be a term for more simple boredom , and weltschmerz foregrounds the pain or sadness. Do you proclaim this, with a long, slow sigh, to everyone around you? It describes a world weariness felt from a perceived mismatch between the ideal image of how the world should be with how it really is.
In German philosophy it was distinguished from pessimism, the idea that there is more bad than good in the world, because while pessimism was the logical conclusion of cool, rational philosophical pondering, weltschmerz was an emotional response. Though weltschmerz and ennui are pretty close synonyms, ennui foregrounds the listlessness brought on by world weariness it can also be a term for more simple boredom , and weltschmerz foregrounds the pain or sadness. There is perhaps a greater sense of yearning in weltschmerz part of the pain is that the sufferer really wants the world to be otherwise.
Also, as an English word, weltschmerz is not as common as ennui, so there are fewer connotations about the type of person that comes down with it. Do you have sadness in your heart for the world that can never be and sensible shoes? English has changed a lot in the last several hundred years, and there are many words once used that we would no longer recognize today. For whatever reason, we started pronouncing them differently, or stopped using them entirely, and they became obsolete.
There are some old words, however, that are nearly obsolete, but we still recognize them because they were lucky enough to get stuck in set phrases that have lasted across the centuries. Here are 12 words that survived by getting fossilized in idioms. You rarely see a wend without a way.
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You can wend your way through a crowd or down a hill, but no one wends to bed or to school. However, there was a time when English speakers would wend to all kinds of places. Wend was just another word for go in Old English. The past tense of wend was went and the past tense of go was gaed. People used both until the 15th century, when go became the preferred verb, except in the past tense where went hung on, leaving us with an outrageously irregular verb.
The desert from the phrase "just deserts" is not the dry and sandy kind, nor the sweet post-dinner kind.
It comes from an Old French word for deserve , and it was used in English from the 13th century to mean "that which is deserved. In some cases, that may mean you also get dessert, a word that comes from a later French borrowing. If we see eke at all these days, it's when we "eke out" a living, but it comes from an old verb meaning to add, supplement, or grow. It's the same word that gave us eke-name for "additional name," which later, through misanalysis of "an eke-name" became nickname. Sleight is often miswritten as slight and for good reason.
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Dint comes from the oldest of Old English, where it originally referred to a blow struck with a sword or other weapon. It came to stand for the whole idea of subduing by force, and is now fossilized in our expression "by dint of X" where X can stand for your charisma, hard work, smarts, or anything you can use to accomplish something else. It came about as a way to describe the 17th century version of snow tires. A "rough-shod" horse had its shoes attached with protruding nail heads in order to get a better grip on slippery roads.
It was great for keeping the horse on its feet, but not so great for anyone the horse might step on. The fro in "to and fro" is a fossilized remnant of a Northern English or Scottish way of pronouncing from. It was also part of other expressions that didn't stick around, like "fro and till," "to do fro" to remove , and "of or fro" for or against.
The hue of "hue and cry," the expression for the noisy clamor of a crowd, is not the same hue as the term we use for color. The kith part of "kith and kin" came from an Old English word referring to knowledge or acquaintance. It also stood for native land or country, the place you were most familiar with.
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The expression "kith and kin" originally meant your country and your family, but later came to have the wider sense of friends and family. When you leave someone "in the lurch," you leave them in a jam, in a difficult position. But while getting left in the lurch may leave you staggering around and feeling off-balance, the lurch in this expression has a different origin than the staggery one.
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The balance-related lurch comes from nautical vocabulary, while the lurch you get left in comes from an old French backgammon-style game called lourche. Lurch became a general term for the situation of beating your opponent by a huge score. By extension, it came to stand for the state of getting the better of someone or cheating them. Umbrage comes from the Old French ombrage shade, shadow , and it was once used to talk about actual shade from the sun. It took on various figurative meanings having to do with doubt and suspicion or the giving and taking of offense.
To give umbrage was to offend someone, to "throw shade.