The German language is famous for portmanteau words, none more popular than schadenfreude expressing the quite subtle emotion of joy in another’s misfortune, from schade meaning harm and freude meaning joy. But schadenfreude is not, to my mind, joy blasted from the rooftops, it is the secret little unworthy pang of pleasure we feel when our pompous boss chokes on his wine while holding forth at lunch, or our glamorous colleague comes back from the bathroom with her skirt caught up in her knickers. It is the also the way we feel when that moralising politician is caught with his pants down.
Here are a few more useful German words to add to your repertoire.
The weight one puts on after after a period of overeating to console oneself for unhappiness.
The dazzlingly witty rejoinder you only come up with when you are on the way home.
The sad weary feeling one has after watching too many news programs.
And one where I will leave you to guess the meaning. It’s not a good thing…