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Friday, 13 May 2022

Word To Use Today: epicaricacy.

 The Word Den is all for the brotherhood of all man, so here's the word epicaricacy to help. 

Well, a bit.

Until now, most English-speaking people have believed that there's no English word for the German Schadenfreude (that is, pleasure gained from witnessing the misfortunes of others, particularly big-headed others. There's a definite sense that the misfortune is in some way deserved).

This has allowed English-speakers to kid themselves that they are in some ways less envious, and more generous and forgiving, than German-speakers. 

What it actually means, though, is that English speakers don't know their own language.

The English word for Schadenfreude is the lovely word epicaricacy

You say it eppiCArikassy.

At least, when I say it's English, it's obviously originally Greek. And almost no one has ever used it - it's not even to be found in my copy of the Oxford English Dictionary. But Richard Burton used it in 1621 in his The Anatomy of Melancholy, and Nathan Bailey put it in his 1721 dictionary, so that's English enough for me.

Word To Use Today: epicaricacy. This word is made up of three bits of Greek: epi, which means upon, karis, which means joy, and kakos, which means evil. 

Aristotle wrote about it, so the idea's been around for quite a while.

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