What is the proper translation of the word "Epicaricacy"? Or is it one of those complex words that only have a meaning in the original language?

I found the translations "alegría maligna", "satisfacción malévola " and "epicaricacía". The latter one is, of course, what one would think as the proper translation but the RAE does not identify it.

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    It's not an English word either. See the usage notes in the wiktionary, the discussion, the citations. It's not present in other English dictionaries either.
    – rsanchez
    Aug 27, 2014 at 1:58

3 Answers 3


The word epicaricacy is basically a supposed Greek-derived version of the German schadenfreude which is the word we actually use in English.

The German term is likewise used in Spanish — imported as femenine — along with the pure Spanish word regodeo from the verb regodearse. Quoth the DRAE:

regodearse 3. prnl. coloq. Complacerse maliciosamente con un percance, apuro, etc., que le ocurre a otra persona.

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    Cuantos idiomas conoces? Aug 27, 2014 at 2:42
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    Aparte de que traducir entre varios idiomas es una mala práctica, pues se pierde el significado, la palabra regodearse al Inglés es gloat.
    – Rosenthal
    Aug 27, 2014 at 2:50
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    @EmilioGort cuatro: inglés, castellano, asturiano y portugués. Aug 27, 2014 at 2:52
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    Otra cosa, regodeo tiene dos significados (según la RAE), y su significado depende del contexto, no como epicaricacy, cuyo significado en invariable.
    – Rosenthal
    Aug 27, 2014 at 2:57
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    @syrux No creo que pierda ningún sentido. La traducción estándar de schadenfreude al español es regodeo. epicaricacy es simplemente un supuesto intento de hacer más anglófona una palabra alemana (con la impresionante ironía de por integrar solo elementos griegos acabar con un resultado totalmente opaco para los anglohablantes). El hecho de que se pueda traducir la palabra regodearse al inglés como gloat no contraindica el uso de regodeo (que con su significado de efecto de regodearse es imposible usar gloat en inglés como equivalente) para otras palabras (psuedo)inglesas. Aug 27, 2014 at 3:33

As a native Spanish speaker, I would say that somebody "se alegra del mal ajeno" but would never say "alegría maligna" nor "satisfacción malévola".

The first one doesn't make sense to me (does not sound natural nor seems to have a proper meaning).

The second sounds a little bit better (I would perfectly understand what you mean if you said that to me), but still I think is not what you would hear the most, for somebody who is happy about other people's misfortunes or bad luck. Probably is just a personal preference and bias.


It does not exist as a single word.

What is the proper translation of the word "Epicaricacy"?

The first two words that you mentioned ("alegría maligna", "satisfacción malévola") are the correct ones.

Is it one of those complex words that only have a meaning in the original language?

No. You can translate the word into Spanish without losing the original meaning, but not as a single word.

You may find "translations" of the word in some websites, but they are not recognized by the Royal Spanish Academy.

Also, a search in Google Ngram Viewer (book search engine) of "epicaricacía" returned 0 results.

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