Angst means fear or anxiety (anguish is its Latinate equivalent, and anxious, anxiety are of similar origin). The dictionary definition for angst is a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity.[1] The word angst was introduced into English from the Danish, Norwegian, and Dutch word angst and the German word Angst. It is attested since the 19th century in English translations of the works of Kierkegaard and Freud.[1][2][3] It is used in English to describe an intense feeling of apprehension, anxiety, or inner turmoil.

In other languages, having the meaning of the Latin word pavor for "fear", the derived words differ in meaning; for example, as in the French anxiété and peur. The word angst has existed since the 8th century, from the Proto-Indo-European root *anghu-, "restraint" from which Old High German angust developed.[4] It is pre-cognate with the Latin angustia, "tensity, tightness" and angor, "choking, clogging"; compare to the Ancient Greek ἄγχω (ánkhō) "strangle".

Edvard Munch - The Scream - Google Art Project
Edvard Munch tried to represent "an infinite scream passing through nature" in The Scream (1893).

Existentialist angst

In Existentialist philosophy, the term angst carries a specific conceptual meaning. The use of the term was first attributed to Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855). In The Concept of Anxiety (also known as The Concept of Dread, depending on the translation), Kierkegaard used the word Angest (in common Danish, angst, meaning "dread" or "anxiety") to describe a profound and deep-seated condition. Where non-human animals are guided solely by instinct, said Kierkegaard, human beings enjoy a freedom of choice that we find both appealing and terrifying.[4][5] It is the anxiety of understanding of being free when considering undefined possibilities of one's life and one's power of choice over them.[5][6] Kierkegaard's concept of angst reappeared in the works of existentialist philosophers who followed, such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Martin Heidegger, each of whom developed the idea further in individual ways. While Kierkegaard's angst referred mainly to ambiguous feelings about moral freedom within a religious personal belief system, later existentialists discussed conflicts of personal principles, cultural norms, and existential despair.

Marl Gerdes
Ludger Gerdes, Angst, 1989


Existential angst makes its appearance in classical musical composition in the early twentieth century as a result of both philosophical developments and as a reflection of the war-torn times. Notable composers whose works are often linked with the concept include Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss (operas Elektra and Salome), Claude-Achille Debussy (opera Pelleas et Melisande, ballet Jeux, other works), Jean Sibelius (especially the Fourth Symphony), Arnold Schoenberg (A Survivor from Warsaw, other works), Alban Berg, Francis Poulenc (opera Dialogues of the Carmelites), Dmitri Shostakovich (opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, symphonies and chamber music), Béla Bartók (opera Bluebeard's Castle, other works), and Krzysztof Penderecki (especially Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima).

Angst began to be discussed in reference to popular music in the mid- to late 1950s amid widespread concerns over international tensions and nuclear proliferation. Jeff Nuttall's book Bomb Culture (1968) traced angst in popular culture to Hiroshima. Dread was expressed in works of folk rock such as Bob Dylan's Masters of War (1963) and A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall. The term often makes an appearance in reference to punk rock, grunge, nu metal, and works of emo where expressions of melancholy, existential despair, or nihilism predominate.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Angst". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  2. ^ "Angst".
  3. ^ "Angst". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  4. ^ a b "Angst". The Free Dictionary.
  5. ^ a b Marino, Gordon (March 17, 2012). "The Danish Doctor of Dread". New York City: The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
  6. ^ Backhouse, Stephen (2016). Kierkegaard: A Single Life. HarperCollins Christian Publishing. ISBN 9780310520894. Retrieved 17 July 2017.

External links

  • The dictionary definition of angst at Wiktionary
Angst (1928 film)

Angst is a 1928 German-British silent drama film directed by Hans Steinhoff and starring Gustav Fröhlich, Henry Edwards and Elga Brink. It is based on the 1925 novella Fear by Stefan Zweig. The film was a co-production between Germany and Britain, with the British star Edwards included to give the work greater commercial appeal in the British Isles.

Angst (KMFDM album)

Angst is the seventh studio album by German industrial band KMFDM, released on 13 October 1993 by Wax Trax! Records.

Angst (soundtrack)

Angst is the seventeenth album by Klaus Schulze. It was originally released in 1984, and in 2005 was the fourteenth Schulze album reissued by Revisited Records. It is the soundtrack for the 1983 Austrian film of the same name. "Freeze" featured in the 1986 film Manhunter.

Angst in My Pants

Angst in My Pants is the eleventh studio album by the American rock band Sparks. The album was released by Atlantic Records in both the US and UK, and this was the 6th overall label that the band was signed to in the US, and, for the first time since the mid-1970s, the band would be signed the same label in both the US and UK for 3 consecutive albums.

Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Bodycount

Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Body Count is the debut studio album by American post-hardcore band From First to Last. It was released on June 29, 2004 through Epitaph Records. The title was taken from a monologue in the film Heathers, in which Winona Ryder's character is writing in her diary. Production was handled by Lee Dyess and the band themselves. The album was remastered by Beau Burchell from Saosin, however, it is not indicated on the personnel, possibly due to a contemporary feud between the band. The album is also notable for being one of the earliest projects featuring singer and multi-instrumentalist Sonny Moore (who has since launched a successful solo career as an electronic music producer and performer, under the stage name Skrillex). The album received generally mixed reviews from music critics. It reached number 12 and 21 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums and Independent Albums chart. It spawned two singles: "Ride the Wings of Pestilence" and "Note to Self". The hidden track (commonly referred to as "Dead Baby Kick Ball") features contributing vocals from American rapper Major League Player. "Populace in Two" was included in the soundtrack for the video game Burnout 3: Takedown.

It was released on the iTunes store for download on July 26, 2005.


Existentialism () is a tradition of philosophical inquiry associated mainly with certain 19th and 20th-century European philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual. While the predominant value of existentialist thought is commonly acknowledged to be freedom, its primary virtue is authenticity. In the view of the existentialist, the individual's starting point is characterized by what has been called "the existential attitude", or a sense of disorientation, confusion, or dread in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world. Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophies, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience.Søren Kierkegaard is generally considered to have been the first existentialist philosopher, though he did not use the term existentialism. He proposed that each individual—not society or religion—is solely responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely, or "authentically". Existentialism became popular in the years following World War II, and strongly influenced many disciplines besides philosophy, including theology, drama, art, literature, and psychology.

Glory (KMFDM song)

"Glory" is a KMFDM single from the album Angst. It contains three remixes of the title track "Glory" (as well as the version from Angst), plus remixes of the tracks "Lust" (by Chemlab) and "Move On", both originally from Angst. There is also a rough mix of "Trust," which was released in its final version on the album Nihil.

Heinrich Angst

Heinrich Angst (August 29, 1915 – September 9, 1989) was a Swiss bobsledder who competed in the mid-1950s. Competing in two Winter Olympics, he won a gold medal in the four-man event at the Cortina d'Ampezzo in 1956.

Angst also won seven medals at the FIBT World Championships with two golds (Four-man: 1954, 1955), one silver (Two-man: 1949) and four bronzes (Two-man: 1955, Four-man: 1949, 1950, 1951).

Indie pop

Indie pop (also typeset as indie-pop or indiepop) is a music genre and subculture that combines guitar pop with DIY ethic in opposition to the style and tone of mainstream pop music. It originated from British post-punk in the late 1970s and subsequently generated a thriving fanzine, label, and club and gig circuit. Compared to its counterpart, indie rock, the genre is more melodic, less abrasive, and relatively angst-free. In later years, the definition of indie pop has bifurcated to also mean bands from unrelated DIY scenes/movements with pop leanings. Subgenres include chamber pop and twee pop.

Jon McLaughlin

Jonathan McLaughlin (born September 27, 1982) is an American pop rock singer-songwriter, producer and pianist from Anderson, Indiana. His debut album Indiana was released on May 1, 2007, preceded by his first EP Industry, also known as Jon McL, in February 2007. His most successful song is the 2008 single "Beating My Heart", from his second album OK Now.

Lacrimosa (band)

Lacrimosa are a gothic duo led by German Tilo Wolff, the main composer, and Finn Anne Nurmi. They are currently based in Switzerland, but originally from Germany. Originally counted among the bands of the Neue Deutsche Todeskunst genre, Lacrimosa have developed their style more towards powerful metal, but Gothic elements still remain.Their current musical style mixes gothic rock and heavy metal along with violin, trumpet and more classical instruments, although their musical development throughout the years has also led to changes in instrumentation. Lacrimosa's lyrics are written almost exclusively in German, although since the 1995 album Inferno every album has featured one or two songs in English, generally written by Anne Nurmi. Finnish has also appeared in the spoken intro to two songs ("Schakal" on Inferno and "The Turning Point" on Elodia) and on a bonus track in a limited-edition release of Fassade called Vankina. Their lyrics are mainly about loneliness, sadness, darkness, despair and love.

The band have sold more than 20,000 copies of each album in Germany but has also gained a large fanbase in Russian Federation, Mexico and China.

Mars (Fritz Zorn)

Mars is an autobiographical book by Fritz Angst (1944 – 1976) under the pseudonym Fritz Zorn. It was first published in 1977. Adolf Muschg wrote its long and engaged foreword. The book was reviewed in the book review section of New York Times, which says that the author's pseudonym of "Fritz Zorn" literally means "Angry Fritz".

In the book, written after the author was diagnosed with cancer, Zorn describes and criticizes his environment, entourage, and upbringing in one of the wealthiest lakeshore neighborhoods of Zurich, Switzerland, where he claims to have been "educated to death". Zorn laments his "unlived life": though he apparently became successful in the eyes of the bourgeoisie (he attended university and became a teacher), his whole life was "wrong". He suffered from depression and never had friends or a girlfriend.

The book saw significant success in Europe in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but was not well received in the late 1980s nor in English translation. The New York Times reviewed it harshly, saying the author's experience with cancer did "not confer acuity or wisdom - only pain, suffering and despair". The review wonders why the book was published at all, referring to it as "whining" which "continues for 143 pages of almost sadistic tedium".The author believed that cancer was psychosomatic, caused by mental pain and repressed emotions, a theme which became popular in several self-help books of the time.The book has been translated into several languages. Alex and Daniel Varenne developed a comic book based on the book in 1988, and Darius Peyamiras wrote and directed a play drawn from it in 2001.

Ned Vizzini

Ned Vizzini (born Edison Price Vizzini, April 4, 1981 – December 19, 2013) was an American writer. He was the author of four books for young adults including It's Kind of a Funny Story, which NPR named #56 of the "100 Best-Ever Teen Novels" and which is the basis of the film of the same name.

Vizzini suffered from depression, spending time in a psychiatric ward in his early 20s, and authoring several works about the illness. He was found dead in his native Brooklyn, New York after an apparent suicide from a fall, aged 32.

Neil Cicierega

Neil Stephen Cicierega ( SISS-i-REE-gə; born August 23, 1986) is an American Internet artist, comedian, actor, filmmaker, puppeteer, singer, musician, and animator. He is the creator of the genre of Flash animation known as "Animutation", and has released several albums as a musician under the name of "Lemon Demon" and has more recently released a series of mashup albums under his own name.

Richard Angst

Richard Angst (23 July 1905 – 24 July 1984) was a Swiss cinematographer who worked on more than ninety films during his career, most of them in Germany. Angst emerged as a leading photographer of mountain films during the silent era. He often worked with the director Arnold Fanck, and accompanied him in 1937 for The New Earth his troubled 1937 co-production with Japan. While he worked on some Nazi propaganda films such as My Life for Ireland, many of the films he was employed on during the era were less political.After the Second World War, he worked regularly in German commercial cinema often at CCC Film. He was the cinematographer for Fritz Lang's The Indian Tomb and The Tiger of Eschnapur (both 1959).

Switzerland at the 1956 Winter Olympics

Switzerland competed at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.

Teenage Angst (song)

"Teenage Angst" is a song by British alternative rock band Placebo, released on 16 September 1996 as the fourth single from their self-titled debut album. It reached number 30 on the UK Singles Chart.

Reviews of the song offered that "“Teenage Angst” illustrates the “utter despair” motif even more convincingly, major key aside" and "Teenage Angst [...] [was] destined to become [a] single".

The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty

The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty (German: Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter) is a 1972 German-language drama film directed by Wim Wenders. It is also known as The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick. It was adapted from the novel with the same title by Peter Handke.

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