About Joy

While working on my new book, Waltraut … which comes out in the fall! :)  … I explored the word schadenfreude. As a side note, of interest only to copywriters, editors and such, the word schadenfreude is a noun and while nouns are capitalized in German, a foreign word that has become a universal word, no longer needs a capital.  Interesting?  Maybe, to some.
Clouds or promise of rain?

Many English words and expressions have become ubiquitous throughout the world … but other languages, including French, (ex. Bonjour); Italian (ex. Ciao) and yes, German, have their own words that have become international. Often these are long, complicated words like sehnsucht, auf wiedersehen, or doppelgänger. Schadenfreude is a typical long German word that is actually two words, schaden, meaning pain and freude meaning joy. Combined the word means ‘joy at someone else’s pain.’ For example, we had a recent by-election in our province and no doubt there was considerable, schadenfreude amongst the winners. To be expected. Another type of schadenfreude would be when someone in your class, say a bully, comes down with a life-threatening illness. That would an unkind form of schadenfreude.  

While exploring the term schadenfreude, I came across the word freudenschade. This was new to me and also interesting. It’s more passive aggressive. Freudenschade means a lack of joy at someone else’s success. How many of us felt freudenschade at Putin’s recent electoral victory?  

And then there’s freudenfreude. Is this even a word? Apparently, yes. It means joy about other’s joy. I’m thinking empathy is a great umbrella term to connect us with other’s joy, pain and success. 

So whatever you’re feeling … schadenfreude, freudenschaden, or freudenfreude … it’s best to talk it out and return to the common word found in all three of these compound German words… freude (meaning joy). So freude to you, my friend, whatever language you speak.

Read more about these terms here. 

Joy of Joy


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