Synonyms of 'German'
related prefixes Germano-Teuto-
German has provided English with some very evocative words which have distinct meanings from their English synonyms. Schadenfreude, borrowed in the 19th century, literally means of `harm-joy' and describes a feeling of enjoyment at the misfortunes of others. Schadenfreude conveys a feeling of satisfaction that another has got their comeuppance, usually without the agency of the person experiencing it. It is often experienced as a guilty pleasure, rather than an open gloat and contains elements of voyeurism, titillation, and shame. It has retained its core meaning through the ages, precisely because there is no other word in English for this phenomenon. It is used solidly as a noun or noun-modifier, and is never used as a verb, because of its unwieldly and foreign sound. It can be found both with a capital (common to all nouns in German) or without. Another word which has no direct equivalent in English is Zeitgeist which entered the language in the 19th century. Literally it means `time-spirit' and is loosely translated as `the spirit of the times'. It conveys a sense of shared outlook in a culture at a particular point in time, especially when it is reflected in the arts or philosophy, and can be contrasted with its synonyms mood, attitude, trend, spirit and outlook. Zeitgeists are conceptualized in English as transitory and even elusive; they are captured or caught and pinned down, or else, like a wave, you can ride or surf them. The tautologous `zeitgeist of our times' shows that the original German is not always known, though its meaning obviously is. The more recent zeitgeisty shows that the concept is now being used as an adjective.
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Thesaurus for German from the Collins English Thesaurus