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Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude means taking delight in the misfortune of others. Schadenfreude is a German word, a combination of the word schaden which means harm or injury and freude, which means joy. Schadenfreud is first mentioned in English studies of language in the mid-1800s, though it wasn’t used by the general public until the 1980s. The word schadenfreude was most probably introduced to a wider English-speaking audience by the book Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, published in 1973. The Oxford English Dictionary recognized the word schadenfreude in 1982. While schadenfreude is capitalized in German, it is not capitalized in English.


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Examples

Although social comparison based emotions such as jealousy and schadenfreude (pleasure in the other misfortune) are important social emotions, little is known about their developmental origins. (Discover Magazine)

With little attempt to mask a rising tide of schadenfreude, the weight of Western punditry pronounced a strategic Chinese failure to engage with the international community or abide by the rules of the game known as international law, which has evolved under Western ascendancy over the past four centuries. (The South China MOrning Post)

Remainers, let it be stressed, cannot be accused of schadenfreude since, of course, they share the schaden of leaving the EU. (The Independent)

It’s a book chock-full of schadenfreude and historical irony; it actively seeks to entertain the reader with the misfortunes of others. (The Yakima Herald)

And yet . . . among the reasons we fans watch — laughs, schadenfreude and eye candy being others — is the possibility of seeing two people form a genuine connection. (The Toronto Star)

Amanat’s arrest triggered considerable schadenfreude. (Fortune Magazine)

There’s an explanation of “schadenfreude,” which translates from German as pleasure derived through someone else’s misfortune, or as the professor explains “better you than me, mister.” (The Chicago Daily Herald)

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