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What English word means "I am happy for you!"?
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2010/06/12
6:41am
San Diego, CA, USA
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For example if someone gets a bonus or new car or maybe a good relationship … and you a truly happy for them. Not Envy, but truly happy that are happy and good things are happening to them. Does English have a single word for this? My wife's Chinese English dictionary translated it in to "Envy" which is not the correct word at all. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

2010/06/12
7:16am
Glenn
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The word Congratulations conveys that meaning, and can be used in almost any situation, including the ones you mention, to convey sincere happiness for another person's reward, achievement, blessings, or good fortune. Of course, it can also be used ironically or insincerely, but those who do so lack both backbone and imagination.

The closest equivalent in Chinese, in my very limited experience, is gong1 xi3 恭喜.

2010/06/13
7:12pm
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Not exactly what I had in mind. I'm looking for the word describing how I am feeling and not what I am wishing someone. Congratulations is an expression of prase or good wishes. Glenn said:

The word Congratulations conveys that meaning, and can be used in almost any situation, including the ones you mention, to convey sincere happiness for another person's reward, achievement, blessings, or good fortune. Of course, it can also be used ironically or insincerely, but those who do so lack both backbone and imagination.

The closest equivalent in Chinese, in my very limited experience, is gong1 xi3 恭喜.


2010/06/14
5:15am
Glenn
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I'm looking for the word describing how I am feeling and not what I am wishing someone. Congratulations is an expression of prase or good wishes.

If congratulate and congratulations don't appeal to you, I will look for another word. Is it that congratulate doesn't work for you because you are looking for a word to describe such feelings even when they are unexpressed?

Otherwise, perhaps we are looking at different reference materials. In my experience, and in my reference materials, the words congratulate and congratulations are not wishing someone anything. Rather it is expressing the reaction and feelings of the speaker. It is unlike "best wishes" or "good luck" or "all the best" in that regard. Instead, it simply states exactly that right now I am rejoicing with you in your circumstance.

While it is dangerous to argue the meaning from the roots, congratulate comes from the Latin with a meaning of "rejoice together."

Aside from the etymology, the reference materials clearly indicate a focus on the current feelings of the speaker, rather than on future events (emphasis mine):

American Heritage
To express joy or acknowledgment, as for the achievement or good fortune of (another).
ETYMOLOGY:
Latin congrtulr, congrtult- : com-, com- + grtulr, to rejoice (from grtus, pleasing; see gwer-2 in Indo-European roots)

Cambridge
to praise someone and say that you approve of or are pleased about a special or unusual achievement

However, key to these words is the idea of expressing the feelings. If you need to describe the feelings apart from the expression of them, then I will have to give it more consideration.

2010/06/14
3:06pm
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Yes …thank you so much for the hard word you have put in. However I am looking for the word to describe the feeling apart from the expression of said feelings. Congratulation(s) would be acceptable if I was looking to express the feelings which I am not.

2010/06/21
2:50am
wordsarecool
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That's a great question! It seems like there would be many answers but it's not so easy. If I had to convey this feeling in the context you describe I might use the word "deserving" in reference to a financial gain, or "blessed," to convey your happiness over another's new relationship.

2010/06/21
9:01pm
cs
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I don't think there is a common single word for this. The only phrase that comes to mind is, "I'm happy for so-and-so." Other common adjectives might apply (relieved, excited, etc.) but they don't apply specifically to happiness for another person.

The word "vicarious" does come to mind, although it may not be exactly right. If someone is setting out on a new adventure, you can enjoy it vicariously through them.

2010/06/22
8:23am
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dulcimoo said:

Yes …thank you so much for the hard word you have put in. However I am looking for the word to describe the feeling apart from the expression of said feelings. Congratulation(s) would be acceptable if I was looking to express the feelings which I am not.


For my logic, the "for you" contradicts your desire to not express the feelings. Who is "you" referring to without the expression? If you had said, "I am happy for someone!", that sentiment can go unexpressed to that person.

Emmett

2010/06/26
7:36pm
lux rationis
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"Felicitations" is a less commonly-used synonym for "congratulations" (very common in French and Spanish, however). One could argue that it is a little bit more along the lines of "I'm happy for you" as it is etymologically constructed on the Latin word for "happy." In practical use, though, it really just means "congratulations." You probably need to cobble together a phrase for this exact meaning. "I share in your joy," is sometimes heard, but "I'm happy for you" would have to be considered the idiomatic standard. What is important in language is not an exact translation in the same part of speech, but a correlative locution that achieves the same function. Trying to find an exact translation is especially difficult when going from an ideographic language to a phonetic one as the basic building blocks of meaning are different at the very foundations of the two idioms.

2010/06/26
8:23pm
tunawrites
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I agree with the above that "congratulations" or "felicitations" (probably not widely used; I would suggest "kudos" as another) are the closest we have in English to expressing appreciation for another's good fortune. However, those words are subjectively indeterminate; that is, they do not identify who is offering the happiness for the listener's success. I find it odd that I cannot think of a word that conveys both that there are good wishes for someone's fortune AND that I am one bestowing those wishes. I am not sure what this phenomenon is -- maybe it's some inherent culture of envy in the predominantly-English-speaking countries. Perhaps each of us feel formally obligated to publicly appreciate the success of others, but one's attributing that acknowledgment to oneself would connote a failure of oneself in the ubiquitous competition of life. (I am not agreeing with life as competition -- I think I'm more laid back than that; I just think it's a valid observation.)

I'm not sure it's really a problem, though, if you want to give that message. You can just say what your question posed as the definition of the word you are seeking: "I'm happy for you." Just say it with a positive tone; otherwise it comes across as kind of sarcastic and mean-spirited.

2010/06/27
12:59pm
wordsarecool
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The above post is very insighful. I believe I'm missing something in the deep background of the intentions of someone desiring to convey happiness for another while not wanting to praise them. I don't wish to criticize, but it seems disingenuous to attempt to convey happiness for another without a bit of praise tagging along. I believe that idiomatically, many words can't be translated from one language to another. I find that Americans are much more effusive than other cultures. Perhaps this is why you are finding it difficult to find an acceptable translation. All of the examples given are inherently praiseworthy. Any sentiment to express your happiness for another who has experienced a positive event will be taken at face value, when sincerely bestowed.

2010/06/27
12:59pm
wordsarecool
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The above post is very insighful. I believe I'm missing something in the deep background of the intentions of someone desiring to convey happiness for another while not wanting to praise them. I don't wish to criticize, but it seems disingenuous to attempt to convey happiness for another without a bit of praise tagging along. I believe that idiomatically, many words can't be translated from one language to another. I find that Americans are much more effusive than other cultures. Perhaps this is why you are finding it difficult to find an acceptable translation. All of the examples given are inherently praiseworthy. Any sentiment to express your happiness for another who has experienced a positive event will be taken at face value, when sincerely bestowed.

2010/06/28
6:02am
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This started as looking for an English word to describe a concept of what I am feeling. I can give praise and congratulations on someone else, but the question is …. and am I feeling. My wife's Mandarin/English translator translated the feeling into envy – which is not correct at all. I am looking for the single word that describes my joy at the good fortune of others. My the wishes I am conferring to that person, but what MY feelings are when I am happy (and not envious) for them. I don't see what is disingenuous in this. My feeling and the wishes I am bestowing on another are to different things are they not? Perhaps English has no such single word?

2010/06/28
10:29am
Lee
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Perhaps we have to borrow another word from German for this – what's the opposite of schadenfreude? :-)

2010/06/28
11:31am
Glenn
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Lee and I were on the same wavelength. I was already searching for such a word. The closest I came to was the fictitious freudenfreude.

2010/06/28
1:47pm
Glenn
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I just came across this interesting book fragment on Google books:
Justice and Desert-Based Emotions, Kristján Kristjánsson, 2006, Ashgate Publishing Limited, pp. 92-93

If we now turn to emotions involving pleasure at others’ good fortune, the first thing that stands out is the lack of proper terms in English. Tesser (1991) gives examples of terms in Yiddish, Spanish and Portuguese capturing emotions of this kind (p. 131). In my own native language, Icelandic, there exists a verb, samgleðjast, (to feel pleasure at another person’s fortune/happiness), but for some reason no respective noun. Notably, in German, there is no word similar to Schadenfreude to describe such an emotion, for example no ‘Feudenfreude’. Ben-Ze’ev suggest that the reason may lie in the less differentiated nature of positively evaluating emotions and the fact that pleasure at someone’s fortune is ‘quite similar to the general emotion of joy or happiness’ (2000, p.355).

(Link to book quote)

2010/06/28
2:16pm
Lee
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Very interesting, Glenn, thanks!

2010/06/29
2:04pm
wordsarecool
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joy (joi)
n.
1.
a. Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness.
b. The expression or manifestation of such feeling.
2. A source or an object of pleasure or satisfaction: their only child, their pride and joy.
v. joyed, joy·ing, joys
v.intr.
To take great pleasure; rejoice.
v.tr. Archaic
1. To fill with ecstatic happiness, pleasure, or satisfaction.
2. To enjoy.

2010/06/29
2:29pm
wordsarecool
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In Buddhism, the concept of mudita, "sympathetic joy" or "happiness in another's good fortune," is often explained as the opposite of schadenfreude

2011/09/01
12:11am
SkyPiercer
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Ha Ha Ha. I am truly sorry but it seems like many people will hate me for this. It's very obvious what you are trying to find here. For example if your do not feel happy for someone success because you feel like you should be more successful, that word is to be envious or to be jealous. Which also foretells your feeling of saying "I'm Not Happy For You."

Now that I have bored you with that long "sentimental" statement, I will tell you what you are looking for. A word that express your feeling of being happy for someone is to be "Sincere."

You've already found that answer when you first started but it seems like you are a bit blind to see it. You see the definition of sincere is :honest and unaffected in a way that shows what is said is really meant. But it means a different thing when you use it as a feeling, which means to feel happy for someone.

And if you need any proof just realize that when you write a letter and you end your enclosure with Sincerely, you truly mean "best of luck".

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