Is there a German word for being pleased about something clever defeating something awful?

I've asked around and so far I've gotten:

  • Genugtuung

  • ein Gefühl vollständiger Zufriedenheit

But I'm wondering if there's anything even more specific.

(for informal audience, so slang is okay). The connotation is "rooting for the (clever) 'good guys.'" What might the German equivalent of "hero worship," for instance?


  • Heldenverehrung would be the counterpiece to hero worship. – guidot Aug 28 '14 at 12:09

If the "victory by cleverness" is the essential part the following phrase would be appropriate:

jemandem ein Schnippchen schlagen

(Some tranlsate it with "cheat")

It also has a "guilty pleasure" aspect according to redensarten-index.de:

Die Pläne des Gegners durch Klugheit durchkreuzen / Ausdruck gutmütig-hämischer Schadenfreude

(to cross someones plans by cleverness / expression of well meant schadenfreude)

Oh, and one could say

Wer anderen eine Grube gräbt ... (fällt selbst hinein)

If the bad one sets up a trap and the good one outsmarts him and uses the trap against him. But these are all phrases and not "a German word for"


As an alternative to the already mentioned "Genugtuung" I want to suggest


Beside these two I do not know of any single word that can express this emotion. But there are some idiomatic phrases that I think are worth mentioning:

ein Sieg wie David über Goliath

has something of "clever beats awful" in it, but doesn't really express pleasure. And maybe you need an educated audience to be understood.

ein innerer Reichsparteitag

can express very deep satisfaction that things went - eventually and against some odds - the way you wanted to. But it is also referring to the Third Reich, which can make using this phrase a problem. I list it here for you to know in case you might hear it. You can find some examples here. The phrase even has its own Wikipedia article. They mention two synonyms there:

innerer Vorbeimarsch

jemandem ein Volksfest sein

that I would consider less problematic, especially the latter (but in turn I can't remember having ever heard it).

  • An alternative to innerer Reichsparteitag without these problems would be inneres Laubhüttenfest. – Wrzlprmft Aug 22 '14 at 10:48
  • Triumphgefühl has (compared to Triumph on its own) the benefit of being one word, and I personally would neither use Reichsparteitag nor Laubhüttenfest, let alone recommend it to a non-native speaker. – guidot Aug 28 '14 at 12:07
  • @guidot Yes, Triumphgefühl could be an alternative. Whether it is a better choice than Triumph depends on what you want to say and how you want to say it. E.g Triumphgefühl empfinden would sound strange to my ears, somehow doppelt gemoppelt. - I think I made it clear enough that I do not recommend using Reichsparteitag and mentioned it only to tell that this idiomatic phrase exists and can be heard sometimes. – Matthias Aug 28 '14 at 21:07

sich im Lichte seines Sieges und Scharfsinns sonnen

This more or less translates to to bask the light of one’s victory and cleverness. This does not contain that the victory has been achieved by cleverness, so this should have been established before or be obvious from the context.

You can replace Sieges und Scharfsinns with more fitting synonyms of Sieg and Scharfsinn and you can also specify who was defeated in the victory, if you desire.


(There is no single, usual word conveying precisely what you described, i.e. the aspect of cleverness winning, so I'll try to make it more general.)

If the side you're favoring wins, you will probably feel satisfaction or maybe even happiness.


would be one possibility, but if I'm interpreting it correctly, you are referring to a situation where a preconceivedly superior attribute loses to the preconceivedly weaker. Such a victory always comes with a bit of retribution, maybe even glee. And that is nicely put with


*Note that Befriedigung can be physical, too.

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