Is there a word for something that is bad, sad or tragic, but is also beautiful in some way. Or the ABILITY to see beauty in such circumstances?

  • Could you provide an example of such 'something', please?
    – WS2
    Sep 21, 2015 at 7:46
  • for example a fire or a volcano can be beautiful even though it has the ability to destroy or even kill people. OR Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy but it's also beautiful
    – karen
    Sep 21, 2015 at 7:49
  • 1
    I've seen expressions such as 'the terrifying beauty of Vesuvius erupting'. Or you could talk about the poignant beauty of the scene - perhaps? But I shall be interested in other suggestions.
    – WS2
    Sep 21, 2015 at 8:03
  • 1
    The phrase tragic beauty suggested in your question seems to capture it.
    – bib
    Sep 21, 2015 at 12:10
  • Its not perfect, and a jaoanese loan phrase but: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mono_no_aware
    – user662852
    Sep 24, 2015 at 10:54

1 Answer 1


Is it possible that bittersweet is the word that you have in mind?

Arousing pleasure tinged with sadness or pain: bittersweet memories of his time in London

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