Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is it really a word?

I had a discussion with a disbeliever (in "epicaricacy") recently and ever since I have been wondering whether it really is an English word. Remember, it has a Greek etymology, and the first (and one of the only) citation in a dictionary is using some of the Greek letters. How then is it any different from "Schadenfreude," which is, to me, a German word. Further, how often is "epicaricacy" used as a word in English...really? It is used, but only to define it, call it a word or used in arrogance (e.g. "Ha! ha! you don't know the word!")

Now, in support of the word, it is becoming more widely known. I have been getting many more Google alerts these this one and this one. In each of them, you have to scroll down to the comments.

While the writers do use the word, as you can see, it's merely in lexacographical manner. So...I am myself beginning to think the OED might be right to not include it.

Here is one of the comments:

I have a fondness for the word "schadenfreude", and the supposedly english version of the word..."epicaricacy".

I have had them posted on my wall for 3 or more years, and have only heard the word "epicaricacy" used once. "Schadenfreude" was the explanation when I looked up "epicaricacy".

And here is the other:

Dude, I just did a whole post on "Schaudenfreude" a couple of weeks ago. Of course, I spelled Schaudenfreude wrong and completely botched the context, but I hardly am ever hard on myself for misspelling things in German. The english equivalent is "epicaricacy." I learned that from one of my smart readers. I was as surprised as anyone when I found out I had one.


seanahan said...

Keep fighting the good fight. It may not be a word now, but I use it occasionally, and if we keep using it, it will be become a word.

Dogberry said...

There's also gloating and smirking and - to some extent - cackling, which form my three main methods of passing the time, especially in this festive season.
Scha(u)denfreude is half unitalicized now, which is as good as having your verbal asylum application granted. I did a post on it here I'll link to you if you link to me.

zmjezhd said...

It's as much a word as irregardless. It just isn't as popular.