For the movie, see Anguish (film)
Anguish is a term used in contemporary philosophy, often as a translation from the German angst, meaning "dread". It is a paramount feature of existentialist philosophy, in which anguish is often understood as the experience of an utterly free being in a world with zero absolutes (existential despair). In the theology of Kierkegaard, it refers to a being with total free will who is in a constant state of spiritual fear that his free will leads him to fall short of the standards that God has laid for him.

In the teachings of Sartre, anguish is seen when an utterly free beings realizes the unpredictability of his or her action. For example, when walking along a cliff, you would feel anguish to know that you have the freedom to throw yourself down to your imminent death.


Main Entry: 1an·guish

Pronunciation: ˈaŋ-gwish

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English angwisshe, from Anglo-French anguisse, angoisse, from Latin angustiae, plural, straits, distress, from angustus narrow; akin to Old English enge narrow — more at anger

Date: 13th century

extreme pain, distress, or anxiety


"That we create our own anguish and that if we had reacted differently we would not have caused ourselves this thing we call Anguish so it is up to you whether to be calm or cause yourself pain and distress".

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