Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday May 10, 2000
schadenfreude \SHOD-n-froy-duh\ , noun:
A malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others.
That the report of Sebastian Imhof's grave illness might also have been tinged with Schadenfreude appears not to have crossed Lucas's mind.
-- Steven Ozment, Flesh and Spirit
He died three years after me -- cancer too -- and at that time I was still naive enough to imagine that what the afterlife chiefly provided were unrivalled opportunities for unbeatable gloating, unbelievable schadenfreude.
-- Will Self, How The Dead Live
Somewhere out there, Pi supposed, some UC Berkeley grad students must be shivering with a little Schadenfreude of their own about what had happened to her.
-- Sylvia Brownrigg, The Metaphysical Touch
The historian Peter Gay -- who felt Schadenfreude as a Jewish child in Nazi-era Berlin, watching the Germans lose coveted gold medals in the 1936 Olympics -- has said that it "can be one of the great joys of life."
-- Edward Rothstein, "Missing the Fun of a Minor Sin", New York Times, February 5, 2000
Schadenfreude comes from the German, from Schaden, "damage" + Freude, "joy." It is often capitalized, as it is in German.