Printable Version
Pronunciation: kahn-fê-lis-ê-ti Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Pleasure in someone else's happiness.

Notes: Here is a much better antonym for schadenfreude than firgun. It hasn't made it into many dictionaries yet, but its adjectival form should be confelicitous. Let's spread it around at this particularly insecure time.

In Play: Today's word seems to be having difficulty finding its way into the English vocabulary: "The news that Tristan Farnon had passed his final exams was met with confelicity in everyone who knew him in Darrowby." Still, it is perfectly formed, so it is a perfectly good member of that delightful congress: "When Gladys Friday joyously announced to the office staff that she had found another job elsewhere, a sense of confelicity spread through everyone."

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from Old French felicite "happiness" (Modern French félicité), a reduction of Latin felicitas "happiness; fertility", the noun for felix ([felik-s]) "happy, fortunate, fruitful". Latin created its adjective from PIE dhei-l-, a suffixed form of dhei-/dhoi- "to suck(le)", found also in ancient Greek thele "(mother's) breast" and Lithuanian dėlė "leech". With other suffixes we find Russian deti "children", Sanskrit dhena "cow", Latin fecundus "fruitful, fertile", and Albanian djathë "cheese". Russian doit' "to milk", Danish and Norwegian die "suck(le)", and Sanskrit dhayati "sucks" reveal the PIE root without any PIE suffix.

Dr. Goodword,

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