How great it is to have a word for such things…

This Friday in class I introduced the term Schadenfreude, a German compound-word that brings together “Harm” and “Joy” (yes, Sigmund Freud’s last name means “Joy,” as does James Joyce’s). Schadenfreude, sometimes anglicized as “schadenfreude” (I mean, why not?). Anyway, the term fills the need for a word for that common situation when you derive pleasure or joy from someone else’s pain or misfortune. It is especially relevant to such situations as romantic relationships, circles of friends, politics, sports and… well, I guess there’s a place for it everywhere.

While we’re at it, how about Schwangerschaftverhütungsmittel? Not sure that one will catch on…. probably because there’s already an English equivalent: “contraceptive.”


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