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Shashi Tharoor’s Word of the Week: Epicaricacy

That feeling of misplaced glee you feel at someone else’s misfortune.

ht weekend Updated: Jun 15, 2019 17:53 IST
Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor
Hindustan Times
Shashi Tharoor,Word of the week,Epicaricacy
(HT Illustration: Sudhir Shetty)


Deriving pleasure from the misfortunes of others

USAGE: When the boastful braggart was defenestrated by his club, my epicaricacy knew no bounds.

There’s always a particular malicious satisfaction that some people gain from seeing others — especially those to whose vainglory we have been subject — receiving their comeuppance.

I’d like to think I’m largely immune from epicaricacy (or even its better-known German equivalent, schadenfreude, which means the same thing), because I was born without an envy gene, and have grown up convinced that the world has enough room for everyone to succeed and that the sufferings of others should never be a cause of rejoicing for myself.

Still, arrogant braggarts need to be brought down from time to time, if only for their own good.

When you smile at bad news about someone, suppress a chortle and say insincerely, “it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy”, you are experiencing epicaricacy. Grow out of it quickly, though — as any shrink will tell you, negative emotions are not good for you, or for any of us, even politicians!

First Published: Jun 15, 2019 17:53 IST