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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web That inclusion feels less clunky this time; the outcome is equally enjoyable in its schadenfreude. Odie Henderson,, 21 Nov. 2022 Despite having her own private conversation with a male friend leaked, Princess Diana apparently revelled in her ex's schadenfreude. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, 12 Nov. 2022 The wind was still gusting, and a few people speculated with a hint of schadenfreude that the festival might be canceled the next day as well. Madeleine Aggeler, New York Times, 29 Oct. 2022 Dear Carolyn: Is indulging in a little schadenfreude really such a bad thing? Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2022 Yet the schadenfreude the Astros' avowed enemies awaited won't come for a while. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 6 Nov. 2022 The temporary schadenfreude can’t erase the writing on the Jazz’s wall. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 May 2022 Those criticisms don't completely undercut the meatiness of the story, and the schadenfreude of how all these privileged masters and mistresses of the universe were so easily deceived. Brian Lowry, CNN, 11 Feb. 2022 There were glimpses of schadenfreude and some sly smiles from leaders who sat on the other side of Brexit negotiations. Karla Adam, Washington Post, 20 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

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 7 Dec. 2022.

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