Is there a word for feeling amused by someone or some people do something ... erroneous or stupid ?


While not entirely restricted to your definition, I'd suggest schadenfreude,

pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune

In this case, you have defined the subset of misfortune which is produced by the subject's own actions, although the term also refers to misfortune inflicted without help from the subject.

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  • 3
    Schadenfreude involves "pleasure", not amusement. – JEL Nov 27 '15 at 5:48
  • Yes - I discounted Schadenfreude for the same reasons - it's only advantage is that it is one word to describe a set of circumstances, however there isn't a single-word English equivalent that meets the questioner's needs. – Cargill Nov 27 '15 at 7:08

ridicule which is contemptuous laughter.

mockery emphasises the disdain of such laughter.

(dated) ribbing, demotic from 'rib-tickling,' emphasises the social nature of mockery.

raillery, is exactly the meaning; but seems to me old-fashioned and formal.

RAILLERY Merriam-Webster

1 : good-natured ridicule : banter

However much M-W dresses it up, the banter seems to me derisive, scornful, or sardonic.

www.merriam-webster 'sardonic' disdainfully or skeptically humorous

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    All of these deal with the expression of the feeling, rather than the feeling itself. – WhatRoughBeast Nov 27 '15 at 5:04
  • @WhatRoughBeast Is this closer? derisive, scornful, or sardonic? – Hugh Nov 27 '15 at 6:14

No there isn't - you would still need to use "amused by someone doing something erroneous or stupid". But nearby terms are amazed, astonished, flabbergasted, stupefied, outraged, and possibly horrified - if you saw someone climb into the lion enclosure at a zoo, for example.

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I will go with smug for your example, in that a not-so-smart person might feel smug in knowing that there are more stupid or clumsy people than them under the sun.

smug: highly self-satisfied M-W

Alternately, how about gloat?

v. to feel or express great, often malicious, pleasure or self-satisfaction


  1. The act of gloating.

  2. A feeling of great, often malicious, pleasure or self-satisfaction. AHD

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If the subject of ridicule has no sense of humor or is annoyingly sensitive, they are always going to take things in negative context, no matter whether your perception as an onlooker is that it is simply "Raillery" or "Mockery".

But to me, "Raillery" is the "show" being performed before you, whereas what was asked was the term for the "feeling of amusement derived from the show".

So, Raillery being the "show", I'd say this is a half-complete answer.

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  • Hi! I'm guessing this was intended as a Comment on @Hugh's answer, but it has gotten added as a new answer by itself. Please choose 'Add comment' below Hugh's answer and copy-paste this content there, then perhaps you can delete this answer. – sundar - Reinstate Monica Dec 6 '15 at 17:58

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