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Definition: Rejoicing or deriving pleasure from the misfortunes of others.

Pronunciation: EP-i-kar-ik-i-see


The noun Epicaricacy stems from three Ancient Greek words; epi– upon, kharis- joy and kakos – evil.

The 1721 An Universal Etymological English Dictionary composed by Nathan Baily portrays the “Epicharikaky” entry simply as stated above, but the 1621 The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton provides a more elaborate account of this feeling:

“Out of these two arise those mixed affections and passions of anger, which is a desire of revenge; hatred, which is inveterate anger; zeal, which is offended with him who hurts that he loves; and ἐπιχαιρεκακία [epikhairekakia], a compound affection of joy and hate, when we rejoice at other men’s mischief, and are grieved at their prosperity”

Thus, if taken literary, epicaricacy is not merely rejoicing others’ misfortune, but also grieving for other’s fortune.

Why this word?

Epicaricacy is not only specific and useful, but it also rolls of your tongue in a painfully natural way and sound; just say it and you’ll see. It represents feelings we all have, feelings stemming from our love and appreciation for one or the lack of it towards another. To different extents, this is a feeling we have on a daily basis and for this reason- a great word to have!

I am also continuing a certain internet tradition here, as this word is nowhere to be found other than the two citations provided above, and other words-fan sites available on line.

How to use epicaricacy?

Epicaricacy is a noun describing an act, and you simply use it as such. “Dana took great epicaricacy in David’s loss”, or “the team derived unforgettable epicaricacy upon winning against last year’s champions”.

We can also say that David’s epicaricacy was too evident for him to remain respectful and that the manager’s epicaricasy at the employees’ abolished strike was inhumane.      


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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.


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