scha·​den·​freu·​de ˈshä-dᵊn-ˌfrȯi-də How to pronounce schadenfreude (audio)
often capitalized
: 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 Of course, the team’s fan base has a reputation for enthusiasm that verges on the obnoxious, and its tragedy engendered more than a little schadenfreude on Tuesday. Christopher Maag, New York Times, 13 Sep. 2023 This would be chiefly the inflicting of pain, toilets, and schadenfreude. Michael Hofmann, The New York Review of Books, 28 Sep. 2023 Sure, the Brewers didn't have much to play for, but the glorious schadenfreude of the moment wasn't lost on Brewers fans, playing in the National League for the first season. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 6 Sep. 2023 The infiltration of the jet set is the driving force behind the schadenfreude emanating from social media in response to video footage of Burners — some of whom paid $2,750 for a single ticket — tromping through ankle-deep mud, unable to drive out of the camp following unusually heavy rain. Allison Morrow, CNN, 5 Sep. 2023 All of this has swept the internet into a Fyre Festival–esque episode of schadenfreude. Alexandra Sternlicht, Fortune, 6 Sep. 2023 Also, some top-shelf schadenfreude if the 49ers and Broncos miss the playoffs. Daniel Kohn, Spin, 6 Sep. 2023 So the schadenfreude that has erupted recently over home prices and homelessness, street crime and empty office towers, is nothing new. Rebecca Misner, Condé Nast Traveler, 26 July 2023 And there was certainly some Carlson schadenfreude in the room, as well as some grumblings about Lemon from the many CNN staffers in attendance. Maura Judkis, Washington Post, 30 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'schadenfreude.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


German, from Schaden damage + Freude joy

First Known Use

1868, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of schadenfreude was in 1868


Dictionary Entries Near schadenfreude

Cite this Entry

“Schadenfreude.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on schadenfreude

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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