Yesterday I encountered the artistic term 'Sturm und Drang' (roughly: storm and stress), a term that describes the literary and artistic movement influenced by Rousseau. It has also been co-opted in English to an extent where it can more generally be used as a noun to describe a "Turbulent emotion or stress" (Oxford Languages).

Out of curiosity, if this term were to be pluralised, should we use the German pluralisation methods? If so, it becomes 'Stürme und Dränge', but I don't believe any dictionary lists this as an appropriate plural noun.

Is it then proper to Anglicise the plural noun to 'Sturm und Drangs', or is it better to allow 'Sturm und Drang' to denote a plural noun in English despite the singularity of the German.

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    The Oxford definition says turbulent emotion , not a turbulent emotion. I don't think the expression can ever be countable. Commented Oct 26, 2021 at 14:48
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    Some expressions don't have a plural, e.g. sweat and toil, give and take. If used adjectively, you would pluralize the noun give-and-take approaches, Sturm und Drang works.
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Oct 26, 2021 at 14:49
  • When we "Anglicise" a foreign word, that almost always means we use the standard English way of forming the plural. Centuries ago, when English had low (or no) status by comparison with Latin, Norman French, etc., things were different. But not today. Commented Oct 26, 2021 at 17:04
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    Out of curiosity, if this term were to be pluralised, ... Can you think of a valid example of a pluralised "Sturm und Drang"? I can't. It is like "fish and chips" or "bacon and eggs" - there is no plural.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Oct 26, 2021 at 19:25
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    It might be easier/better to have "Sturm und Drang" modify an English noun so you have "Sturm und Drang emotions" or "Sturm und Drang situations" or something like that.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 9:00

1 Answer 1


Both Wiktionary and WordHippo say that it has no plural in English. Likewise in German, Deutsche Rechtschreibung says it has no plural. Treat it as a mass noun: "One instance of Sturm und Drang, many instances of Sturm und Drang." (I think it's common enough that italics are not needed.)

If you really need to form an English plural (e.g. in discussing different versions of the German literary movement Sturm und Drang) I would suggest Sturm und Drangs. There is no advantage to using a German plural when the German plural does not exist. Words taken into English from other languages often change their form and are customarily pluralised as if they were English (e.g. you often see agendas despite agenda's origins as a Latin plural).

Common German-origin nouns such as strudel and pretzel are pluralized with -s in English, rather than using the original German forms (which are hard to remember for a non-German-speaker). Merriam-Webster lists both gestalts and gestalten for the plural of gestalt, but that's a term of art in psychology, and I'd guess for the general public using the term more loosely, gestalts would be more common.

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