German words

There are a few German words that have been adopted in the English language and have become “loan words”.  I’ll write about the most interesting ones of them in a few blog posts going forward.

perfect scenario for schadenfreude: greaterthings.com

Let’s start with Schadenfreude.  Schadefreude is when somebody takes pleasure in somebody else’s misfortune.  The word derives from Schaden which means adversity, harm, and a bunch of other unpleasant negative things.   Freude means joy, delight, elation.

Some sources define Schadenfreude as “malicious joy” but that is overreaching somewhat.  There certainly can be malicious aspects to Schadenfreude, where it borders on the pathological but more often Schadenfreude is what one experiences when watching an episode of Tom and Jerry or some other comic where one character or another gets whacked over the head, somebody spilling a glass of coke on their white pants, or falling into the pool in an evening dress.

Though few languages other than German seem to have a specific word for Schadenfreude the concept seems rather universal, that’s why the word has become used in other languages as well.

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