- n. Sadness over the evils of the world, especially as an expression of romantic pessimism.
If there’s one thing I love, it’s pretentious German words. This synonym for “world-weariness” is a combination of the German Welt, meaning “world” and schmerz, meaning “pain”; literally, “world-pain.” It’s taken directly from the German word, which is usually capitalized, and was first coined by Jean Paul Richter in 1810. I, personally, learned it from David Foster Wallace.
Add it to your list of foreign phrases that sound much cooler than their clumsy English equivalents.