WOTY candidate: schadenfreude

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Apr 10 23:53:16 UTC 2008

On Thu, Apr 10, 2008 at 6:12 PM, JAMES A. LANDAU wrote:
> WOTY candidate: "schadenfreude".  It's been around for a while (MWCD10 says 1895) but in the
> last month it has emerged from obscurity into numerous news stories. (about 1,250,000 hits on
> Google) In fact I even found a pun on the word:
> http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10961825
> "It is hardly surprising, then, that the country is enjoying a fit of Spitzenfreude—and that
> Wall Street's trading floors are decorated with photoshopped pictures of him cavorting with
> bodacious babes in various states of undress. Some people have even attributed the
> markets' mid-week bounce to glee over Mr Spitzer, rather than to the $200 billion shovelled
> their way by the Fed."

Xenfreude (where X = a politician's name) is hardly a new innovation.
See my Language Log post mentioning Bushenfreude, Deanenfreude,
Frankenfreude, etc.:


And Mark Liberman's more recent post on Huckenfreude, Mittenfreude,
Obamenfreude, etc.:


And finally on the popularity of the word "schadenfreude", see my
OUPblog post from last year:


--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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