General Question

occ's avatar

Is there a word for the opposite of schadenfreude?

Asked by occ (4051points) February 21st, 2010

Schadenfreude means being gleeful at someone’s misfortune. But is there a word for being sad that someone else is really happy?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

24 Answers

gasman's avatar


semblance's avatar

I think that the opposite of being gleeful at someone’s misfortune is “sympathy”. However, the word for being sad that someone else is really happy is “jealousy”.

Dilettante's avatar

I like, “altruism.”

faye's avatar

I go for envy.

DarkScribe's avatar

Possibly empathy.

Dilettante's avatar

I was just being humble. Altruism is the answer.

Dilettante's avatar

Schadenfreude (pronounced /ˈʃɑːdənfrɔɪdə/, German pronunciation: [ˈʃaːdənˌfʁɔʏ̯də]) Audio (US) (help·info) is pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

Altruism (pronounced: pronounced /ˈæltruːɪzəm/) is unselfish concern for the welfare of others.

faye's avatar

How is that sad that others are happy??

Dilettante's avatar

I have no idea…just felt like being argumentative. I was thinking the questioner probably wants a German word.

Dilettante's avatar

Schnitzenderfelbofer is absolutely perfect

Dilettante's avatar

There’s another way to look at this. If it’s “pleasure derived from the misfortune of others,” isn’t that simply, sadism?
Therefore, the opposite is: Masochism.

This is fun.

SeventhSense's avatar

Vieneschnitzel? Rumplestilsken? Farfegnugen?

Dilettante's avatar

The Buddhist concept of mudita, “sympathetic joy” or “happiness in another’s good fortune,” is cited as an example of the opposite of schadenfreude.[13][14] Alternatively, envy, which is unhappiness in another’s good fortune, could be considered the counterpart of schadenfreude. Completing the quartet is “unhappiness at another’s misfortune”, which may be termed empathy, pity or compassion.
The transposed variant “Freudenschade” seems to have been multiply invented to mean sorrow at another person’s success

Dilettante's avatar

And then of course there’s always:

In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle used the term epikhairekakia (alternatively epikairekakia; ἐπιχαιρεκακία in Greek) as part of a triad of terms, in which epikhairekakia stands as the opposite of phthonos, and nemesis occupies the mean. Nemesis is “a painful response to another’s undeserved good fortune,” while phthonos is “a painful response to any good fortune,” deserved or not. The epikhairekakos person actually takes pleasure in another’s ill fortune

Dilettante's avatar


During the 17th century, Robert Burton wrote in his work The Anatomy of Melancholy, “Out of these two [the concupiscible and irascible powers] arise those mixed affections and passions of anger, which is a desire of revenge; hatred, which is inveterate anger; zeal, which is offended with him who hurts that he loves; and ἐπιχαιρεκακία, a compound affection of joy and hate, when we rejoice at other men’s mischief, and are grieved at their prosperity; pride, self-love, emulation, envy, shame, &c., of which elsewhere.”[19]
Susan Sontag’s book “Regarding the Pain of Others”, published in 2003, is a study of the issue of how the pain/misfortune of some affects others, namely whether war photography and war paintings can be helpful as anti-war tools or if they only serve some sense of schadenfreude in some viewers.
Philosopher and sociologist Theodor Adorno defined schadenfreude as “largely unanticipated delight in the suffering of another which is cognized as trivial and/or appropriate.”

lillycoyote's avatar

I’m with @faye on this one too. I think the word for “being sad that someone else is really happy” would be envy or jealousy. At least that’s generally what’s at the root of someone begrudging someone else their happiness.

davidbetterman's avatar

Inferiority complex.

Dilettante's avatar

It all depends on how you look at it (said the stripper to the sailor)

lillycoyote's avatar

One more: You’ll have to ask a German speaking person but it might actually be something like freudenshaden. Shaden means to damage or harm, and freude is joy, it seems. (I looked up the etymology, it’s not cheating, but I’m not going to pretend it’s something I already knew.) So rather than schadenfreude, feeling joy in someone else’s damage, the term freudenshaden would or could or maybe might mean something like “the feeling of wanting to damage someone else’s joy”.

skfinkel's avatar

Jealousy? Not exactly sad, but not rejoicing in another person’s joy either.

mattbrowne's avatar

Joy at the good fortune of others.

ucme's avatar

Is it Tonyaharding?Sorry to skate over the details but that would be my guess.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Have you seen Avenue Q by any chance?

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther