pinpoint coinages, part n: Schadenfreude, cyberboor

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Feb 6 15:24:18 UTC 2000

(1)  In a review of a book _When Bad Things Happen to Other People_ in
yesterday's New York Times (2/5/00, B9), Edward Rothstein explores the
history of the concept (or at least the label) of Schadenfreude in English.
refers to "R. C. Trench, an English archbishop who first referred to
Schadenfreude in English in 1852", and sure enough, the OED, which I assume
is his evidence for the first-cite claim, does give the Trench cite, but
it's not clear that the Archbishop was actually using the word in English,
so the argument for Trench as official coiner is not as obvious as
Rothstein suggest.
Here's the relevant part of the OED entry:
Schadenfreude  [Ger., f. schaden harm + freude joy] Malicious enjoyment of
the misfortunes of others.

       1852 R. C. Trench Study of Words (ed. 3) ii. 29 What a fearful thing
is it that any language should have a word expressive of the pleasure which
men feel at the calamities of others; for the existence of the word bears
testimony to the existence of the thing. And yet in more than one such a
word is found... In the Greek epixairekakia, in the German,
The assimilation of the term into English seems to have taken place around
the turn of the (last) century.

(2)  In the same section of the Times, on B1, there was a full column
"@ Wits' End And in a Mood To Taunt" by John Tierney devoted to neologisms
suggested by his readers for insulting "dot-com louts".  Acknowledging that
some nominees are unprintable, Tierney lists technotrash, e-coli, World
Wide Weasels, e-rrivistes, RAMbos, snot-com, netwits, e-jerks, I.P.Oafs,
cyboor (my favorite), and--while not listing them directly in the family
newspaper he writes for--he refers readers to the site
where one comes across the winning submissions in two versions,
e-hole and @hole (with definitions provided).  I was also fond of
"dot-commoner" ('a former I.P.Oaf impoverished by a decline in the stock


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