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"Only the Germans would invent Schadenfreude..." - Elf M. Sternberg
elfs
elfs
"Only the Germans would invent Schadenfreude..."
There is this assumption that there's no word in English to match the German term schadenfruede, "malicious satisfaction in the misfortunes of others." This popular notion has been repeated often in the popular press and even shows up in Dictionary.com's "usage" segment.

I'm happy to report that such a popular notion is wrong. Schadenfreude is a late-comer to our shores. The correct English term is epicaricacy, and it means exactly the same thing.
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Comments
shunra From: shunra Date: December 2nd, 2003 11:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Gloating would work pretty well, too

And the Hebrew equivalent is Simcha L'Eid. (What does the fact that Hebrew doesn't have words for "kindness", and that "gentlemanly" is a curse in Hebrew mean?)
unmutual From: unmutual Date: December 3rd, 2003 02:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Gloating would work pretty well, too

What about "chesed," which is translated as "mercy" as often as it is translated as "loving-kindness"?
shunra From: shunra Date: December 3rd, 2003 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Chesed would be "grace" in modern Hebrew

Secular Israelis wouldn't use it, because it's like Latin to them; religious ones don't, because it would be blasphemous (a quality ascribed to god, which they would spell G_d).

unmutual From: unmutual Date: December 3rd, 2003 03:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Chesed would be "grace" in modern Hebrew

Hrm, I never learned modern Hebrew. They only taught me how to read it, not how to understand it. I feel gypped. :)

I used to spell god "G-d" as well, having been told that not spelling it out was better. Then I pointed out to her that the English word "god" is only a symbol of a meaning, and not The Name Itself, so it could be spelled out.

But what about the phrase "gemilut chasedim," which I've heard used as "acts of loving-kindness"? The second word seems to have the same root.
shunra From: shunra Date: December 3rd, 2003 03:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Gmilut Chasadim would be charity

And is also a phrase that is inherently so orthodox that I think I've ever heard a secular Israeli ever use it, EXCEPT to discuss the ultra-orthodox charity organization (which are called gamachim, which is the TLA for that.)

(Sorry for kidnapping your blog for this, Elf)
unmutual From: unmutual Date: December 3rd, 2003 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Gmilut Chasadim would be charity

Oh.

The more I learn about these things outside the synagogue in which I was brought up, the more I realize that they were really just making it all up as they went along. *sigh*
shunra From: shunra Date: December 3rd, 2003 05:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Two things...

...one, they use it in a context that is different from "modern Hebrew, as spoken in Israel", not least because it is spoken within rather exclusive, tightly knit communities.

...two, that's not all they were making up. I was brought up in a similar manner and have been making up for lost time and hidden information ever since. Feel free to leave a comment on my journal (anywhere is ok) if you want pointers about the main lies and misdirections. :-)
bbwoof From: bbwoof Date: December 2nd, 2003 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Epicaricacy?

Hmmm.... I found no entry for this word in either m-w.com or dictionary.com. Where can I look up this word?
woggie From: woggie Date: December 3rd, 2003 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Epicaricacy?

I found it with a google search. You might try that.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 3rd, 2003 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Just my two cent (that's EUR not USD)

Interesting, epicaricacy seems to be an almost unknown word. Even the really big Langenscheidt dictionary doesn't know of it, but I found a reference at leo.org (IMHO the best dictionary around.) http://dict.leo.org/?p=/37m..&search=epicaricacy

Regards,

Niki (german native)
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 25th, 2004 11:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Just my two cent (that's EUR not USD)

Strangely, I've arrived at a conversation about looking for "epicaricacy" by looking for it myself...

As long as we're recommending online dictionaries, my favourite is a meta-dictionary search engine called "onelook" (http://www.onelook.com). And inevitably, 99% of what I search for there shows up in the Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page) my favourite open-source encyclopedia.

Cheers,
Simon
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