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


2 Answers 2


Compassion: "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it".


Commiseration: a feeling of sympathy and sorrow for the misfortunes of others

I think there is a subtle difference between commiseration and compassion, where commiseration involves actually feeling miserable along with the other person while compassion aims more toward the desire to alleviate it.

  • 2
    Good point. Compassion: I feel your pain and I want to help you alleviate it. Commiseration: I feel your pain and have to cry about it as much as you do, but I don't necessarily want to help you alleviate it. Schadenfreude: I see your pain and it gives me great pleasure. Is there anything I can do to increase it?
    – user21497
    Commented Oct 18, 2012 at 1:54

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