Wow, that’s a mouthful, isn’t it? It means “talking in circles.” It’s when you want to discuss something, but don’t want to make any direct reference to it, so you create a way to get around the subject.
Why would anyone do that, you might be wondering. To avoid discussing a specific thing without actively looking like you’re avoiding it. To buy oneself time to come up with an answer. Out of guilt, a lack of education or any of a hundred reasons I suppose.
I see it as a great tool in fiction. It can be an indication of some serious stuff happening in a suspect’s mind, and thereby shape how an investigator chases down what they believe to be a lead in their case. It could work to muddy the case against someone, creating all kinds of trouble along the way. It could also be used to point suspicion at the wrong party.
It’s a great word.
Do you have a word you really like? Let me know in the comments below!
What words drive you crazy? The ones you can’t stand and want to slap others for using. Why do they bother you? Don’t be shy, shout out below!
Here they are, a few hours early!
As always, if you’d like to leave your fiction or poetry comprised of these words in our comments, we’d love to see them! If you’d prefer to put it on your blog, just leave the URL in the comments.
Today’s Word: schadenfreude
Definition 1: Mischief-joy, pleasure in the misfortune of others.
Usage 1: This word is so typically German, that there is little to be done with it. It doesn’t even double as its own adjective felicitously. Just keep in mind that “sh” in German is spelled “sch” and that the vowels in “Freude” are pronounced like “Freud.”
Suggested usage: We suggest avoidance this word and the experience that accompanies it. Schadenfreude is a base substitute for pity, much more the human reaction to the misfortune of others. However, the driver of an old Ford pickup might get a twinge of schadenfreude at the sight of two Mercedes colliding. And if someone fell and broke their arm in the process of robbing your house, a modest touch of schadenfreude should do little damage to the soul.
Etymology: German schaden “to hurt” + Freude “joy.” “Schaden” comes from Old High German “skado,” which also devolved into English scathe “harm, hurt” via Old Norse “skaða.” “Freude” comes from Old High German “frewida,” akin to the same fro “happy” found in contemporary German fröhlich “happy.” Greek is one of the few other Indo-European languages with a native word expressing this unsavory emotional reaction: epichairekakia from epi- “on, over” + chair- “enjoy” + kakia “hurt, vice.” The Dutch equivalent is “leedvermaak” from leed “pain, sorrow” + vermaak “enjoyment” and in Swedish it is “skadeglädje.” (We owe a double debt of gratitude for today’s word to Trevor Wilcock of Halifax, England and Margot Fraser.)