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GermanyinUSA is the home of the monthly newsletter “Germany for Americans”, produced by the German Embassy in Washington, DC. For the embassy’s official website, visit Germany.info.

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Word of the Week: Liebeskummer

Does your heart feel like it’s going to jump out of your chest? Maybe it’s a health-related heart palpitation – or maybe it’s just Liebeskummer.

The German word Liebeskummer means “love sickness”. It consists of Liebe (“love”) and Kummer (“grief”), and it’s more difficult to cure than the common cold! Although you might not be sick with a fever, Liebeskummer can keep you in bed just the same. Liebeskummer is a state of mind that strikes people whose love life is troubling: maybe they’re going through a breakup, fighting with their partner or unsuccessfully pursuing someone. Whatever the case, now they’re grieving over their love life – and only time can cure their ailment.

The word Liebeskummer – as well as variations such as Liebeskrankheit (“love illness”) – have existed in German literature and art for centuries. In the works of Goethe and Werther, Liebeskummer often ends in tragedy. But it doesn’t have to: if you’re currently plagued with the symptoms of Liebeskummer, know that time will always cure it – if you allow yourself to take it.

And in the meantime, make sure to avoid falling victim to Kummerspeck (“weight gain from grief”), since that may add even more to your plate.

By Nicole Glass, German Embassy


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