In this passage from Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle uses the word ἐπιχαιρεκακία to mean:

joy over one's neighbour's misfortune

My question is, Does ἐπιχαιρεκακία have a Latin counterpart in either Classical or Medieval ethical works?

  • The "English" equivalent of ἐπιχαιρεκακία is the loan word "Schadenfreude". – fdb Jul 15 '17 at 9:18

After brief research, it appears that Latin had no equivalent of ἐπιχαιρεκακία (i.e., a single word capturing the essence of the Greek word). Rather, Thomas Aquinas (for one) translated the word ἐπιχαιρεκακία into Latin as gaudium de malo,1 which in English translates as “joy from evil (misfortune).”

In Dictionarium Latino-Græcum, a Latin-Greek dictionary composed by Charles Estienne in 1554, Estienne defined ἐπιχαιρεκακία as gaudium ex alienis malis acceptum—“joy received from another’s misfortune.”2


Aquinas, Thomas. Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics. Trans. Litzinger, C. I. Chicago: Regnery, 1964.

Estienne, Charles. Dictionarium Latino-Græcum. Lutetia: Typographum Regium, 1554.


1 Book II, Lecture 7, Chapter 6, D’, 3., a., §329
2 p. 337

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  • 1
    I would add that Greek tends to favor compound words far more than Latin, so it is not surprising that an idiomatic Latin expression takes up several words. – Joonas Ilmavirta Jul 15 '17 at 7:45
  • 2
    I think Aquinas used an Arabic-derived translation of Aristotle. So he would not have translated this word directly from Greek. – fdb Jul 15 '17 at 10:19

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