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Indignation (from Latin "indignitas" unworthiness, French indignation , English indignation ) means indignation, indignation in the sense of a moral feeling . The associated adjective is indignant . According to Meyer's Großes Konversations-Lexikon from 1905, indignation is "indignation, just indignation about an unworthy act condemned by moral feelings."

The term stands next to emotions such as resentment , shame and guilt , mostly for the reaction with a negative feeling to the - in your own judgment - bad action of another. Indignation is a personal or collective expression of the perceived degradation (vulgo " insult ") that occurs in disregard and violation of a social norm by a third party. It also serves as a means of sanctioning and restoring the integrity of this norm. As a polemical device, it can be used in a manipulative, conformist way as well as provoked critically .

Only those who are committed to such a norm and who see their behavior and self-image ( identity ) as bound by it can react “indignantly” . “Indignation” can be understood as a spontaneous or mediated reaction to a related conflict of legitimation.


  • Peter Strawson: Freedom and Resentment . In: Ulrich Potthast: Seminar Free Action and Determinism . Frankfurt / Main 1978 (orig. 1962), ISBN 3-518-07857-7 , English original online .
  • Ernst Tugendhat : Lectures on Ethics . Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch Wissenschaft 1100, Frankfurt am Main 1993, ISBN 3-518-28700-1 .
  • Thomas Wehr, Michael Bräutigam: Physiological arousal and cognitions in the genesis and differentiation of emotions . In: Psychologie 127 (1999), pp. 55-57, ISSN  1430-1148 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Charles Darwin : The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals . John Murray, London 1872, p. 264-265 (English).
  2. Indignation, In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon ( (accessed on July 6, 2020)