Note that i am not talking about this in the sense of "he deserved what he got", but rather, "i THINK he deserved it".

Basically, when you see someone with a nice car, or when you see a bad person receiving punishment, there is a verb in german and you say: "Ich gönne es ihm" - Literally translated as "I grant it to him" in Deepl, but that doesnt mean the same. It literally means "I think what he has is justified" - it is mostly used in the positive sense when someone who has been through a hard time finally gets something good in life, and you feel happy for him. I was wondering why there is no english word for this, at least i cant find one?

  • You can say that someone has earned it. It is applicable to non-material things too, such as happiness or recognition. Please see Lexico meaning 1.3. Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 15:14
  • There is no verb that I know of, but there is the noun Schadenfreude (stolen, of course, from German) to describe the emotional sensation. Borrowing gönnen would be more difficult, because English doesn't have Dativ, and that's what makes it work in German. Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 15:19
  • @JohnLawler, Can we verbify Schadenfreude? -> Schadenfreudise... Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 15:34
  • 1
    A typical exclamation for the pejorative case is "Justice!" Another is a mock statement of monotheistic belief. Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 16:02

1 Answer 1


I don't know about a verb, but for a noun "comeuppance" seems to describe what you're after. For verb, may be "requite" or "recompense"? In Chinese there's a simple phrase: "Bao Ying" (报应).

  • 2
    That works when something bad has happened, but not in the case mentioned where someone has a nice car, which is deserved. Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 15:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.