Scha-den-freu-de: noun, often capitalized \'shA-d?n-?fro?i-d?\ Schadenfreude i/'???d?nfr??d?/ (German: ['?a?d?n?f???d?]): pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.
"Revenge is a dish best served cold."
We've all heard the phrase. It was made most famous in the Godfather movies. And some do credit this saying to the Mafia, dating back to the old country of Sicily. Others say it had its origins in Spain. Still others claim it for the Pashtuns, as a precursor to the Afghan way of life. And there are many who say its direct history stems from Kahless the Unforgettable, banished leader of the Klingons.
Typically, the Germans beat the rest of the world hands down when it comes to conjuring a specific word that sums it up. And that word is Schadenfreude.
Those of us that are human (most of the book-buying public), whether we will admit it or not, have at some point or another gained malicious delight from the misfortune of others. Most often tied to a vaguely biblical outlook, it is a perfect summing up of a perfectly human trait. Nobody wants to admit it, but we all do it . . . and, often times, gleefully.
by Lawrence Dorfman
by D.H. Lawrence
by Arthur Conan Doyle
by Thomas Paine
by Niccolo Machiavelli
by Rudyard Kipling
by Benjamin Franklin
by Henry David Thoreau
by L.M. Montgomery
by Thomas Bulfinch
by E.M. Forster
by Jack London
Sign up for our email newsletter