Posted by: Jack Henry | August 31, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Schadenfreude

When one of our coworkers sent me a note that said Schadenfreude was interesting, I’m assuming he meant the word, not the EP by the band Lubricated Goat.

While I’ve seen and read the word, I realized I couldn’t define it, so I looked for more information on the internet. Here’s some interesting information I found on Wikipedia.

Schadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. Borrowed from German into English and several other languages, it is a feeling of joy that comes from seeing or hearing about another person’s troubles or failures. It is similar in meaning to the English term "to gloat" (which has no noun equivalent), meaning to express pleasure or self-satisfaction at one’s own success or at another’s failure. [KC – Yikes! These are people you don’t want to party with!]

Spelling and Etymology

Though normally not capitalized in English, the term schadenfreude is sometimes capitalized to mimic German-language convention, as German nouns are always capitalized.

The corresponding German adjective is schadenfroh. The word derives from Schaden (damage, harm) and Freude (joy). Schaden derives from the Middle High German schade, from the Old High German scado, and is a cognate with English scathe. Freude comes from the Middle High German freude, from the Old High German frewida, and is a cognate with the (usually archaic) English word frith. Schadenfreude can be enjoyed in private or it can be celebrated openly. [KC – Is it just me, or does this last sentence sound like an advertisement for an expensive cigar or a bottle of fine wine?]

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

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