I don’t know if I’ve “learned” anything of significance this past year after living through my personal tragedy. I have, however, brushed up on vocabulary words. “Schadenfreude,” for instance, means “pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.”
Interestingly, while researching “Schadenfreude,” I discovered the following tidbit of information:
According to dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster, “searches for ‘schadenfreude’ spiked 30,500% after President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis was announced.”
The word on its “Trend Watch” page, in fact, “was the top lookup for Friday “by a very considerable margin” and the searches began after Trump tweeted that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive.”
The English word was borrowed from German in the middle of the 19th century. In German the word is derived from Schaden (‘damage’) and Freude (‘joy’).
Below are some example sentences that I pulled off the internet:
- “I can easily believe you don’t approve it,” she said with a gleam of Schadenfreude. THE MESSENGER|ELIZABETH ROBINS
- The curious and expressive German word Schadenfreude cannot be translated into any other language. GERMAN PROBLEMS AND PERSONALITIES|CHARLES SAROLEA
Meaning aside, I love the word’s sound that is as fierce as a simultaneous trumpet and trombone blaring. That being said, here’s a suggestion if the juxtaposition of emotional turmoil and your faith-o-meter has become a stress factor. Shout “Schadenfreude!” ten times (preferably when you are alone!). I have found it to be an excellent catharsis.
Many people facing dark times find faith in God or another higher power. At the moment, I put my confidence in the dictionary. Learning vocabulary words keeps my head in a safe space, away from treacherous waters of thought.
I may be far from a world champion in any respect, but my word-champion abilities renew my confidence and award me a promise of a tomorrow filled with substantial lexicons.