According to the 1998 Oxford Canadian Dictionary:

schadenfreude n. the malicious enjoyment of another’s misfortunes. [German from Schaden harm + Freude joy]

I can never remember this word. Its being borrowed unchanged from German may have something to do with it. Not only can I not easily remember schadenfreude, but once I look it up, I can never remember how to pronounce it. Happily, the Wikipedia entry links an audio file in which the word is spoken. Believe me, the way you’d think it’s pronounced if you don’t speak German is not even close. I’m not exactly used to writing phonetically, but it sounds like “SHA-den-froy-dah.” This is a far cry from my first guess of “SHAY-den-frood.”

Don and I were discussing the word despite our being completely unable to remember it, and the closest we came before looking it up was munchenchauzen. Given that we were not even remotely close, I imagined a definition on my own for this word. It’s English taken into German and then taken back into English.

munchenchauzen v. the act of eating, especially lower quality food or fast food. [English from munching + chow]

“Why are you bothering me about this now? Can’t you see I’m munchenchauzen?” See how great it is? I expect to overhear it in use any day now by people I don’t know.

2 thoughts to “schadenfreude”

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