Monday, May 5, 2008

Schadenfreude

There have been lots of good discussions on Wordcraft about "Schadenfreude," from its meaning to its history to its pronunciation. Indeed, when you search for the word on Wordcraft, there are 187 citations! Of course there are 292 citations for "epicaricacy." Considering that Wordcraft has only been in operation since July of 2002, that's not too bad.

This 2004 discussion was particulary interesting because jheem brings up a Greek word that is quite similar to "epicaricacy," and that is, "nemesetikos." This Greek word means, "disposed to indignation at anyone's undeserved good or ill fortune." It's not quite the same as taking pleasure in another's misery, but similar.

Even more interesting in that discussion is that we don't seem to have an opposite word of "epicaricacy," do we? That is, does English have a word that means "taking joy in anothers' pleasure?"

1 comment:

Shoshana said...

Pema Chodron writes that the true meaning of compassion is when we embrace that in ourselves which is shared by others -- be it pain or joy. Perhaps then compassion might be, if not the opposite, the companion of epicaricy or schadenfreude.