Canoonet.eu has given a list of phrasal verbs, but I cannot really find the correct usage of most of these verbs. What is the correct usage of abängsten?

  • 8
    Never heard that word, really. Was suspecting a typo until I saw dictionaries really seem to list it. Seems to be entirely out of fashion since at least 100 years ago. The construct seems to be similar to abtrotzen with "Angst" replacing "Trotz" - i.e. talk somebody into something by making him fear something
    – tofro
    Apr 7, 2016 at 11:18
  • For some reason, I read abhengsten...
    – Philipp
    Sep 9, 2019 at 17:57

2 Answers 2



Both verbs were used synonymously in the past but abängsten is no longer used and abängstigen only rarely used in modern German.

Both were reflexively used similar to sich ängstigen but with the prefix ab- to further strengthen the meaning. An English translation for sich abängstigen could be

to be overly frightened of sth., to be overly scared for so. (coll. to be uberscared)


The word is archaic, so correct current usage is not to use it at all. Nevertheless you can find it in a dictionary with the example

Jettchen ängstigte sich um ihn Stunde um Stunde ab.

  • 1
    Apparently, there also seems to be a jemandem etwas abängstigen : F. Schiller, Geschichte des 30-jährigen Kriegs: "...Eilfertigkeit, mit der er die Ausführung dieser Entwürfe verfolgte, brachte ihn um die Geldsummen, welche er durch ein längeres Verweilen in Franken dem ohnmächtigen Bischof leicht hätte abängstigen können;"
    – tofro
    Apr 7, 2016 at 12:27
  • Yes, Takkat put more effort into his (later) answer, but a downvote, really?
    – Carsten S
    Apr 7, 2016 at 16:15
  • @tofro, yes I could have added references to DWB and Adelung, but I wanted to keep it simple.
    – Carsten S
    Apr 7, 2016 at 16:16
  • Downvote and comment are not related... Not my downvote, and no, I don't understand it either.
    – tofro
    Apr 7, 2016 at 16:48
  • @tofro, hätte ich auch nicht angenommen.
    – Carsten S
    Apr 7, 2016 at 16:49

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