Schadenfreude

1 Comment on Schadenfreude

Ah, Schadenfreude. A loanword from German, it perhaps became popularized in America due to The Simpsons episode, “When Flanders Failed”. Whee—cartoons and etymology!

The direct English translation of Schadenfreude is “damage-joy” or “fail-joy”, the pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. It is known in Danish and Norwegian as skadefryd, in Swedish as skadegl√§dje, in Finnish as vahingonilo, and in Dutch as leedvermaak. Who know there was so much rancor in that part of Europe?

An English expression with a similar meaning is “Roman holiday”. This comes from a poem by Lord Byron who describes the ancient Romans’ delight from watching gladiators butcher one another. No offense to Lord Byron, but “Roman holiday” just doesn’t have the same sort of ring to it.

Obviously Chevelle is enjoying a healthy dose of Schadenfreude right now. But like any “spiteful joy”, it’s most likely short-lived.

Take care,
Steph