Post Eagle Newspaper


Feb 22, 2024

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Angst – Anguish

The Romans spread their culture, religion and language throughout most of Europe. We are aware of the Latin influence in Romance languages but surprised when we see or hear Latin in German, Polish, or Slovak.

Today’s words are:
ANGST – a feeling of anxiety or apprehension often accompanied by depression, and
ANGUISHa feeling of agonizing physical or mental pain.

The word ANGST comes from High German – ANGUST which comes from the Latin ANGUSTIAE meaning DISTRESS.

The word ANGUSTIAE comes from the Latin ANGUSTUS which means NARROW, TIGHT.

The Roman army was sometimes slaughtered by the barbarians if they were caught in a narrow mountain pass. The Roman battle formation was suited for a wide plain where the foot soldiers were flanked by the cavalry. If the army had to pass through tight gorges they came anxious. The Germans often attacked and decimated the Roman army in narrow passes. Caesar recalls that in one battle the barbaric foreigners, during a snowfall, slid down the mountain side on their shields and surprised and routed his men. So a narrow spot or passage could cause anxiety or distress.

The word ANGUISH is close in spelling to the original Latin word and needs no further explanation.