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Fremdschämen (external shame)

By   WirelessPhreak      Saturday, November 15, 2014      Labels:  

Fremdschämen (external shame)

A fun German word I ran across that has no english translation. In fact it looks to be a recent addition to the German language, but does an outstanding job of expressing a very german feeling.

 Have you ever watched someone make a fool of themselves, only to find yourself cringing in embarrassment for them? Then you’ve most likely experienced fremdschämenThis German word is made up of two parts, with fremd meaning “foreign” and schämen meaning “to be embarrassed.” The term is typically used to describe someone who feels embarrassment on behalf of someone else. The corresponding noun for this feeling is Fremdscham.

Fremdschämen (pronounce: "Fremmd-Shamen") is the German word for the sentiment of joint embarassment. In the literal sense it means "external shame".

Use it in a sentence!Today's example was prompted by the Eurovision Song Contest, always a good opportunity to feel embarassed for others.

"Bereits nach den ersten Klängen des diesjährigen Beitrags von Großbritannien zum Eurovision Song Contest zuckte das Publikum innerlich zusammen. Ein europaweites Fremdschämen machte sich breit."

"Right after the first notes of Great Britain's contribution to this year's Eurovision Song Contest, the audience winced innerly. A feeling of Fremdschämen spread throughout Europe."  
Too harsh? You be the judge.


About WirelessPhreak

Just your everyday Packet Wrangler who enjoy's traveling and anything techie...