Word of the day: Schadenfreude

schadenfreude \SHOD-n-froy-duh\, noun:
A malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others.

I first heard this word recently on a podcast I listen to called The Word Nerds. If you are an English-language nut you should listen to this, at least once. I think you’ll be hooked.

The word, as the dictionary.com entry above says is take get some sort satisfaction from the misfortunes of others.

When that guy who cuts you off, gets pulled over by the cops a kilometer ahead, that feeling you get is schadenfreude. Although, I guess you don’t necessarily need that kind of justification or rationalization that some did something wrong to you first. Schadenfreude could mean watching someone you don’t know slipping on a banana peel and feeling good about the fact that they broke their hip. Kind of mean, but hey, it’s just a word, right? In fact, in the cartoon below, Dogbert even creates his own situation. I wonder what you’d call a person who gets a malicious satisfaction from the misfortunes of others, a schadenfreudist? schadenfreuder? I’m not familiar enough with German for that.

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Published in: on August 7, 2006 at 1:55 pm  Leave a Comment