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What is schadenfreude?

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"Schadenfreude" is a German term that refers to the experience of pleasure or joy that is derived from the misfortune, suffering, or failure of others. It is the combination of two German words - schaden which means harm or pain and freude which means joy. This complex emotional response involves a mix of amusement, satisfaction, or even delight at the troubles or hardships someone else faces.

It is used in English and other languages to capture this specific emotional phenomenon because English does not have such a luscious word in its lexicon. Schadenfreude is generally considered a somewhat negative and morally questionable emotion, as it involves deriving pleasure from the pain or misfortune of others. Bad envy is often the root or source of schadenfreude.

Freudenfreude is the antithesis of schadenfreude and involves taking pleasure or happiness for someone else's joy or success.

Schadenfreude is often experienced by the cutter after cutting someone down in the Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS). TPS is uncommonly recognized in the US and schadenfreude as a consequence of TPS is even less recognized.

Communpance signifies punishment or fate that someone deserves. A cutter of TPS feels justified in cutting a Tall Poppy down because of deservingness. The TP no longer deserves to be a TP because of some egregious act and they got their comeuppance.