Sturm und Drang

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American English
I can't recreate the exact dialogue, but this term was used on the show "Mistresses" which airs on network TV in the USA.

The text was something like: ... and in that Sturm und Drang maybe there was a message ...

It's from the new character played by Jennifer Esposito.

My ears perked up when I even heard the term. I'm comfortable with its meaning, but I ask you, before Googling, do native English speakers use/hear this term?

I found it a weird term from the writing team for the show, like maybe a writer shooting for the fences.
  • Winstanley808

    English - U.S.
    Ill bet most of the audience didn't know what it meant. It's OK to me in print because I can take a moment to remember it from the meanings of the German words, but it would probably whizz by me in dialogue.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Do native English speakers use/hear this term?
    Speaking from my own experience: very, very seldom, and then only in writing. It's not normally used in conversation—not by people I converse with, anyway.


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I remember it from when I was doing A level German at school, but I don't think I've had occasion to use it or come across it since. :(


    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    I'm quite certain, I heard it once or twice in English movies.

    Since "Sturm und Drang" is an artistic/literary/philosophical movement from the 18th century, I guess that students in those fields would be quite familiar with it as a name or set phrase.
    Similar to the period of 'fin de siecle' (turn of the century) - even though I didn't speak a single word French when we discussed it in school, the excessive amount of information that was force-fed to us simply made this term stick.


    Senior Member
    English - US
    I see it occasionally. In the Harry Potter books, one of the other schools for wizards is the Durmstrang Institute - a little wordplay with Sturm and Drang turned "inside out".


    Senior Member
    USA English
    I remember it from my college days, probably from some philosophy or political science course I was subjected to, rather than in German class.o_O

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Those who are relatively well educated (university-level arts degree in the UK) and/or have a good grounding in the arts will know it, but we wouldn't use it unless we were sure that the person/people we were speaking to would understand it.

    [It's a bit like the term "common sense", most people appear not to know what it means.]

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I've come across it in writing, never in speech. If I were to see it in print in un-italicized form, I would think that the writer was implying that it was an expression like any other; one that we "ought to know", and I would find that slightly obnoxious. I know what the expression means, but I couldn't tell you whether this is due to knowledge of the meaning of the words or to recollections of the contexts I've seen them used in. Possibly, it's both. I don't use the expression in speech (not only do I fear that many people wouldn't understand it; I also think it would sound pretentious: "You got into a right old Sturm und Drang when you found out that Villa had lost.") and I am not about to start slipping it into the things I write.
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