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Schadenfreude is the joy or pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. What is the word for joy or pleasure derived from the happiness of others?

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Freudenfreude? –  John Lawler Mar 13 '12 at 22:42
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Wait! Maybe this is a "even"/"odd" symmetry issue, but I would have thought that the opposite of Schadenfreude would be a word for "unhappiness at the good fortune of others," No? I would really like to know what that word (in German, of course) would be. –  user20493 Apr 25 '12 at 4:44
    
Actually, the opposite of Schadenfreude would be the sadness about the harm of someone else. Thus, Mitgefühl*/*compassion, as aaamos mentioned, is the closest word that come to my mind. –  Em1 Apr 25 '12 at 15:17
    
@TMM Envy: a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc. (German: Neid) –  veredesmarald Oct 16 '12 at 12:58
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5 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Seeing just the title of your question ("What's the antonym for Schadenfreude?"), my answer would have been "Mitgefühl" (to keep it in German) or "compassion" (English), since I'd say that Schadenfreude is the absence of compassion.

Having now seen your description as wanting a word to express "joy or pleasure derived from the happiness of others", I'd say "Mitfreude" would be it in German, and "sympathetic joy" would be the closest I can think of in English (couldn't find a single word, though a bit of googling did turn up "Mudita" as per cornbread ninja's response, so +1 from me).

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Mitfreude is not a German word. –  Eugene Seidel Apr 25 '12 at 5:16
    
@EugeneSeidel: ...that you know of. Broaden your horizon: "Teilnahme an der Freude eines anderen, anderer". –  Amos M. Carpenter Apr 25 '12 at 7:10
    
@aaamos Well well. Learn something new every day... –  Eugene Seidel Apr 25 '12 at 7:52
    
+1, since Mitgefühl*/*compassion is the best word. You're right, that the explanation asks for something else, then the title expresses. –  Em1 Apr 25 '12 at 15:18
    
Just to have it here in plain text as a courtesy to future readers: Mitgefühl means "sadness derived from the sadness of others"; schadenfreude means "joy derived from the misfortune of others"; mudita/mitfreude mean "joy derived from the joy of others". –  RegDwigнt May 28 '12 at 9:23
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I'm not familiar with mudita, but this 1871 definition says it's the meditation of joy, but ... not the joy arising from earthly possessions. Personally I'm not sure it's really an English "word", nor does it seem to be (in its original sense, at least) particularly associated with vicariously experiencing pleasure directly experienced by another individual. In its Buddhist context, the priest aspiring to it should already have transcended concepts of individuality anyway.

I don't know a "proper" single-word term, but empathic joy and empathic pleasure are reasonably common collocations (the first much discussed by psychologists, as the empathic-joy hypothesis).

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As the Corndog Ninja noted, mudita is the concept of finding joy in the happiness of others.

If you want a rough German antonym of Schadenfreude (or simply schadenfreude in English texts -- "enjoyment obtained from the mishaps of others," as Merriam-Webster defines it), then Seligkeitfreude would work.

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as long as you don't call me corndog man. :) –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Mar 13 '12 at 22:16
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I don't believe that word exists as a compound noun in German, but if it did, it would have an 's' to join them, as in Seligkeitsfreude. Also, the word wouldn't express whether the joy (Freude) is directed at the bliss (Seligkeit) of others or one's own. –  Amos M. Carpenter Mar 14 '12 at 6:49
    
@cornbreadninja Ooops, my bad! But I'll let it stand unedited, if you don't mind :D –  Gnawme Mar 14 '12 at 16:49
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Please let it stand unedited; I want this comment string to make sense for future generations. :D –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Mar 14 '12 at 17:57
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Maybe goodwill? Defined as:

  • Friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitude.

  • A kindly feeling of approval and support : benevolent interest or concern

Or graciousness.

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Mudita is the Buddhist concept of joy.

It is especially sympathetic or vicarious joy, the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people's well-being rather than begrudging it.

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Vicarious is what I would use. –  Jason Orendorff Mar 13 '12 at 21:54
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Vicariousness is merely a vehicle. OP's request reaches beyond to feeling the opposite of schadenfreude as a result of the insight. –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Mar 13 '12 at 22:24
    
@cornbreadninja Mudita is close but does not directly answer my question. It's an interesting word though. So +1 from me. :) –  Anup Mar 15 '12 at 12:30
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Vicarious is still what I would use. It is by far the best fit that is a widely understood word; vicarious pleasure is what people actually say when they mean that in English. They have to do a little more explaining maybe, because it's not a perfect fit. Unfortunately there just isn't always a perfect fit. –  Jason Orendorff Mar 22 '12 at 10:59
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protected by RegDwigнt Apr 25 '12 at 14:52

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