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

Examples of schadenfreude in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But at its best, schadenfreude is actually a recognition of ironic justice. Lee M. Pierce, The Conversation, "Schadenfreude over Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis was more about cosmic justice than joy in another’s pain," 14 Oct. 2020 Here’s why some people—and maybe even you—experience schadenfreude. Korin Miller,, "What Does 'Schadenfreude' Mean, and What Does It Have to Do With Donald Trump Getting COVID-19?," 6 Oct. 2020 In fact, lookups for schadenfreude went up 30,500% overnight. Hannah Rimm,, "Searches For “Schadenfreude” Spike 30,500% After Trump Announces COVID Diagnosis," 5 Oct. 2020 The world expressed sympathy as well as a bit of schadenfreude, at the news Trump tested positive for coronavirus. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "President Trump heading to Walter Reed hospital hours after COVID-19 diagnosis," 3 Oct. 2020 If you were pissed or outraged at Trump before Thursday night, that anger has likely not dissipated between then and now; it’s just been briefly abetted by either a sliver of schadenfreude or a pang of guilt. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "You Don’t Have to Pray for Trump," 2 Oct. 2020 World leaders were quick to weigh in, with official sympathy from the top and something approaching schadenfreude elsewhere. The Associated Press,, "Shock, sympathy, criticism: World reacts after Trump tests positive for coronavirus," 2 Oct. 2020 In Cambodia, which reports being largely spared by the virus so far, there is a measure of schadenfreude toward the United States. Hannah Beech, New York Times, "‘I Feel Sorry for Americans’: A Baffled World Watches the U.S.," 26 Sep. 2020 That's a rarity for reality television, a genre that has historically sacrificed the devastated for a delicious bit of schadenfreude. Ashley Lee,, "Netflix filmed her surprise divorce. Now she’s ready to ‘rip off the Band-Aid’," 7 Aug. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of schadenfreude

1868, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for schadenfreude

German, from Schaden damage + Freude joy

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The first known use of schadenfreude was in 1868

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Last Updated

30 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Schadenfreude.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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How to pronounce schadenfreude (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of schadenfreude

formal : a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people

More from Merriam-Webster on schadenfreude

Nglish: Translation of schadenfreude for Spanish Speakers

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