But the central contrast lies between English's current reliance on a single principal term, suicide, and German's routine use of several different terms, especially Selbstmord, Selbsttotung, Suizid, and Freitod.
But the term is not found in either Goethe or Schiller, and indeed the single term, Freitod, is not even found in Nietzsche, two-word phrase. Yet however problematic its actual origins, the term does have a distinctive, well-recognized sense in contemporary German: although it refers to the act of bringing about one's own death, it does not convey the very negative moral connotations associated with Selbstmord, the factual but still negative connotations of Selbsttotung, or the pathological ones associated with Suizid. On the country, the connotations of the term Freitod are wholly positive: achieving this kind of death is an admirable, heroic - if very difficult - thing to do.
The terms Selbstmord and Suizid appear nowhere in this document, and the bureaucratic term Selbsttotung appears only on the reverse side in the language of quotations from German law about the legal status of suicide.
Some objections are also raised to the portrayal of suicide in terminal illness as Freitod rather than as Selbstmord, Selbstotung, or Suizid, For example, in a 1977 discussion of issues in voluntary death, the writer Gabriele Wohmann said she did not like to use the term Freitod in these discussions because it is "simply too pretty, too seemingly tasteful." Nor do all discussions of the issue trade on emphasizing the opposition between Selbstmord with its highly negative connotations and Freitod with its positive ones; many of the academic discussions employ the comparatively neutral term Selbsttotung instead, and others attempt to cleans the usual term Selbstmord by rejecting its negative connotations.