I'm talking about the philosophical term, developed by Nietzsche and other philosophers. I think this is an important word, because it describes a particular form or hatred or ill will that we encounter in our relationships. There seems to be no other word for it. For example, "resent" is too general: it alone doesn't imply the cause of resentment. With "ressentiment", on the other hand, you know the ill will is caused by feelings of inferiority toward the object of ressentiment. It's a defense mechanism, that covers up one's insecurities by blaming someone else and delegating inferiority on that person.

How do you use it in a sentence, though? Would these be correct?

  1. "He harbors ressentiment towards his colleague."
  2. "His ressentiment made it hard to be on the same team as him."

I've never personally used the word before, at least not in conversation, so these sentences feel weird for me. Is it a word that doesn't really belong outside of philosophical discussion? Or are there ways to incorporate it into everyday speech? If so, I would love to see some examples.

  • 1
    It is a word that I have never heard or seen before. If I heard it, I would probably think you meant resentment.
    – Colin Fine
    Oct 12 '15 at 20:03

It is a technical word and rarely used. I would not use it in ordinary English because practically no-one will know what you mean.

If you want to see how the word is used in sentences then you can search Google Books. ressentiment

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