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? Commented Mar 13, 2012 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
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 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
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 15:17
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    @TMM Envy: a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc. (German: Neid) Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 12:58
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    might as well ask what's the opposite of a duck
    – vectory
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 1:49

8 Answers 8


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).


Mitgefühl means "sadness derived from the sadness of others".

Schadenfreude means "joy derived from the misfortune of others".

Mudita/Mitfreude means "joy derived from the joy of others".

  • Mitfreude is not a German word. Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 5:16
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    @EugeneSeidel: ...that you know of. Broaden your horizon: "Teilnahme an der Freude eines anderen, anderer". Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 7:10
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    @aaamos Well well. Learn something new every day... Commented Apr 25, 2012 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
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 15:18
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    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
    Commented May 28, 2012 at 9:23

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.

  • Vicarious is what I would use. Commented Mar 13, 2012 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. Commented Mar 13, 2012 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
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 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. Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 10:59

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).


You could use the word Compersion perhaps.

From Wiktionary:

The feeling of joy one has experiencing another's joy, such as in witnessing a toddler's joy and feeling joy in response.

  • I'd be careful with that one, as it has a different meaning than the one you quote. :-) The definition on wiktionary reads: "Vicarious joy associated with seeing one's partner have a joyful romantic or sexual relation with another." Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 1:48

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.

  • as long as you don't call me corndog man. :) Commented Mar 13, 2012 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. Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 6:49
  • @cornbreadninja Ooops, my bad! But I'll let it stand unedited, if you don't mind :D
    – Gnawme
    Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 16:49
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    Please let it stand unedited; I want this comment string to make sense for future generations. :D Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 17:57

The word confelicity has been suggested for this concept, most recently by Susie Dent - however, real-world usage of it (outside of collections of obscure words) seems to be scant to non-existent, and it isn't found in any mainstream dictionaries.


From the Latin prefix con- (from Latin cum (“with”)) + the Latin felicitas (“happiness”).


confelicity (uncountable)

(rare) Pleasure in another's happiness.



Maybe goodwill? Defined as:

  • Friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitude.

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

Or graciousness.



Unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group: ‘factory workers voiced solidarity with the striking students’


In Spanish this word has a strong connotation with empathy. I'm not really sure if it would be understand the same way in English.

Also, you can say,

Lisa always celebrates others' successes.

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