The term Schadenfreude, a combination of the German words schaden (damage) and freude (joy), means happiness obtained from the troubles and suffering of others.

If your mother-in-law falls in a manhole and has to be in a body cast for six months—and you’re secretly elated—you’re engaging in Schadenfreude.

Since Schadenfreude is capitalized in its native German, keep it capitalized–it’s more snobby that way.

I was overcome with Schadenfreude when Tom Harris, who fired me from the bank, was indicted on charges of money laundering.