If it is possible to be happy because of others suffering (Schadenfreude) is there a word for the opposite? To be happy at the success of others? "Segenfreude" seems possible, but I wonder if there is a more colloquial term expressing the same thing.

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    "opposite of Schadenfreude" : My first thinking was "Mitgefühl", but then I read the complete question... If you want an action/reaction "gratulieren" could be something... – Allerleirauh Jul 9 '19 at 6:58
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    I would also have suggested Mitgefühl but it is mostly restricted to memorial cards these days. Empathie (engl. empathy) would not convey the success component and sounds too technical in many contexts. So possibly there is no single word counterpiece. – guidot Jul 9 '19 at 7:29
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    Not a more colloquial term, but a closer antonym might be Mitfreude. It's rare according to both Duden and DWDS though. – The Awful Language Jul 9 '19 at 8:54
  • "Gratulieren" seems more immediate to me... "Schadenfreude" (at least in my mind) can be applied over a much longer term (e.g. the joy at the slow steady decline of a childhood bully). Is my understanding of the immediacy of both terms accurate? – nomadkbro Jul 9 '19 at 12:54

This is expressed with the term

sich für jemanden freuen

like in

Als mein Kollege befördert wurde, habe ich mich sehr für ihn gefreut

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    es heißt sich für jemanden freuen :) – messerbill Jul 9 '19 at 11:19
  • @messerbill natürlich, danke – tofro Jul 9 '19 at 12:47
  • "sich für jemanden freuen" is familiar. I wondered if there was a single word, which it looks like there isn't. Mitgefühl seems more like empathy, a sharing in the same emotion, and yes, reads like a memorial card. – nomadkbro Jul 9 '19 at 12:50
  • Mitgefühl is actually empathy - And doesn't really denote "be happy with someone" (maybe, in rare cases), but rather only with "be sad with someone". – tofro Jul 10 '19 at 7:17

You could use the expression

Jemandem etwas gönnen

Ich gönne dir deinen Erfolg sehr!

The noun for this verb is Gunst.

Ich stehe in ihrer Gunst

And the opposite is Missgunst. This is more or less the same thing like Neid but imho it comes very close to Schadenfreude as well.

  • interesting hints: I would use "stehe in Gunst von xy" that this person is "wohlwollend meinem Tun" / "mir wohlgesinnt" which I would translate more to "I get support of xy", not just "xy is happy about my doing". I see this difference as Missgunst is for me "activly hated about any success" rather only "contextual happy about so. else failure" as in Schadenfreude. So I would also say "ich gönne Dir das" as opposite of "schadenfreude", just not "Du stehst in meiner Gunst". – Shegit Brahm Jul 9 '19 at 14:30

Not really exising (at least to my knowledge), but an acceptable word for the opposite of Schadenfreude would be


It supposes that the primary protagonist feels joy about whatever (say: success), and the secondary protagonist shares this feeling although not having been part of the initial action.

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