Trending: schadenfreude

Lookups spiked 30,500% on October 2, 2020

Why are people looking up schadenfreude?

Schadenfreude was our top lookup on October 2nd, by a very considerable margin, following President Trump’s announcement that he and the First Lady had tested positive for COVID-19.

President Donald Trump's coronavirus infection draws international sympathy and a degree of schadenfreude
— (headline) USA Today, 2 Oct. 2020

The Russian president joined a list of world leaders expressing sympathy and concern and some thinly-veiled schadenfreude, in light of Trump’s repeated downplaying of the pandemic and shoot-from-the-hip approach to the science surrounding it.
Chicago Tribune, 2 Oct. 2020

What does schadenfreude mean?

Schadenfreude is defined as “enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others.” The English word was borrowed from German in the middle of the 19th century. In German it comes from Schaden (“damage”) and Freude (“joy”).


Cynics may experience a feeling of Schadenfreude when they read President de Valera’s confession of abject failure—for it is nothing else; but the honest citizen, to whatever party he may belong, or whatever creed he may profess, will feel sorry for the man who, three years ago, entered so quixotically upon the task of Government, believing in his heart and soul that he had a kind of divine mission, and that all the difficulties and obstacles that beset the path of men and women of common clay would be consumed in the fire of his own personality.
The Irish Times, 30 May 1935

Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.

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