noun, often capitalized
scha·​den·​freu·​de | \ ˈshä-dᵊn-ˌfrȯi-də How to pronounce schadenfreude (audio) \

Definition of schadenfreude

: enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others

Did you know?

Schadenfreude is a combination of the German nouns Schaden, meaning "damage" or "harm," and Freude, meaning "joy." So it makes sense that schadenfreude means joy over some harm or misfortune suffered by another.

Examples of schadenfreude in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And wags can’t help but indulge in a new round of schadenfreude at Damon’s expense. Todd Spangler, Variety, 15 June 2022 Politicians, journalists, and human rights advocates will feel a buzz of schadenfreude at this story. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 1 June 2022 The public has swelled with pride — and a good dose of schadenfreude — while watching the rich and powerful fall from grace for being, well, jerks. New York Times, 26 May 2022 It’s all so excessive that the tone of subtle schadenfreude now turns to concern. Peter Debruge, Variety, 21 May 2022 But the fact that these moments occur during a limited series infuses each monologue with what initially feels like irony and increasingly becomes something like schadenfreude. Los Angeles Times, 29 Apr. 2022 The thing about schadenfreude is that the freude (joy) is usually savored when the schaden (the bad thing) happens to someone else. Kim Masters, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Apr. 2022 This led to a wave of schadenfreude towards the movie and Spielberg, with many on social media platforms complaining that the remake, good or bad, was a waste of money and time. Gene Seymour, CNN, 26 Mar. 2022 Oscars season is filled with secondhand pleasures—the vicarious thrill when a favorite film or performer receives Hollywood's most coveted award, the schadenfreude delight of debating questionable red carpet fashion choices. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, 23 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'schadenfreude.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of schadenfreude

1868, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for schadenfreude

German, from Schaden damage + Freude joy

Buying Guide

Check out the 11 best games for word lovers from our Reviews team.

Learn More About schadenfreude

Time Traveler for schadenfreude

Time Traveler

The first known use of schadenfreude was in 1868

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About schadenfreude

Dictionary Entries Near schadenfreude



Schaeffer's acid

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for schadenfreude

Last Updated

21 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Schadenfreude.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on schadenfreude

Nglish: Translation of schadenfreude for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!