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German Word of the Day: Sehnsucht

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German Word of the Day: Sehnsucht
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This content was produced independently by The Local and contains advertiser links.
10:02 CET+01:00
A noun with a meaning which is a combination of ‘longing’, ‘pining’ or ‘yearning’, the idea of Sehnsucht is something which can’t be summed up in one word in English.
Sehnsucht is the feeling of constant searching for an unknown goal, or possibly for a meaning or purpose in one’s life.

The word has been present in both German literature and culture and English language literature for many years. Friedrich Schiller’s 1801 poem entitled "Sehnsucht" has provided inspiration for composers like Franz Schubert and Siegfried Wagner and Goethe's "Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt" was set to music by multiple composers including Ludwig van Beethoven.

Boost your vocabulary, get fluent in German. Learn online with Lingoda

C. S. Lewis often relied on the concept of Sehnsucht his writings, defining it as “inconsolable longing” for “we know not what.”

The German metal band, Rammstein, also named their second album which was released in 1997 Sehnsucht.

Sehnsucht can be used to express longing for a loved one:

Er hatte Sehnsucht nach ihr.

He longed for her.

Sie hatte Sehnsucht nach Liebe.

She longed for love.

It can also be used as an adverb:

Sehnsüchtig erwartete sie seinen Anruf.

She pined for his call.

It can also be used to describe an unhealthy fixation on someone or something:

Die Gamer warten schon sehnsüchtig auf die Fortsetzung.

Gamers are wistfully waiting for the sequel.

Boost your vocabulary, get fluent in German. Learn online with Lingoda

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This article was produced independently with support from Lingoda.

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