This word is easily recognized by anyone in the initial (or, if you’re lucky, later) stages of love, when you feel utterly and completely head-over-heels in love with someone.
In English, the best translations would be love-struck, lovelorn or moonstruck.
This is the feeling that Germany’s Dichter und Denker (poets and thinkers) have had throughout the ages, when they have composed poetic homages expressing their limitless Liebe – sometimes with somberness when it comes to love not returned.
Eighteenth-century Germany writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was liebestoll himself when he penned a novel, inspired by his own feelings, about unrequited love in the 1770s.
The Sorrows of Young Werther focuses on a young artist who falls madly in love with a beautiful young woman he meets, before learning that she is engaged to another man.
A dramatic turn of events ensues, and Werther – so overcome with emotion – takes a tragic decision to stop the suffering he sees imposed by Charlotte.
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The intense emotion expressed in the novel made it one of the most important works in Germany’s Sturm and Drang (Storm and Urge) literary movement.
The movement broke free from a period of rationalism in literature and philosophy that had followed the Enlightenment, and instead centred on extremes of emotion and individual subjectivity – or in Goethe’s case, an individual’s lovelorn state dominating their view of the world.
In summary, whether you’re simply feeling super happy with your significant other, or in a suffer-less state of all-consuming feelings for the person you yearn for but cannot have, liebestoll is a strong word to express the perhaps inexpressible emotion of love.
The official trailer for the 2010 German film 'Young Goethe in Love', a historical drama film inspired by the events that led Goethe to pen his 'The Sorrows of a Young Werther.'
Der liebestolle Werther könnte nicht ohne Charlotte leben.
The lovestruck Werther couldn’t live without Charlotte.
Romeo und Julia waren jung und liebestoll.
Romeo and Juliet were young and lovestruck.