(HAY.thohs; TH as in thin)
Feelings of pleasure derived from hating someone or something.
Does anyone say, "I may be wrong" more disingenuously? Is there anyone more aggressively watchable because he is so awful? Okay, there's CNN's Robert Novak and Paul Begala. And, in the old days, John McLaughlin. However, Bill O'Reilly is so compellingly odious, you almost can't take your eyes off him. I wonder how much of his ratings are based on hathos the enjoyment you get from hating someone, the same delicious feeling you get reading a Paul Krugman column or listening to Senator Biden.
Andrew Sullivan, "Drudge and O'Reilly," The Washington Times, December 19, 2003
The patron saint of hathos connoisseurs, H.L. Mencken, was a brave soul, but even a fellow as sturdy and unstinting as he might have been struck dumb in the presence of the extravagantly hathotic Kathie Lee Gifford. The literary hero of the hathos-addicted is A Confederacy of Dunces' Ignatius J. Reilly, who would spend his afternoons watching trash movies in the Prytania Theater, thoroughly appalled, bellowing out his critiques of the cinematic abominations before him and having a grand old time.
Movies are a reliable source of hathos (two words: Cutthroat Island), but television is a more convenient provider, and you don't even have to leave home to get your recommended daily allowance of the delightfully horrible. Why pay good money and drive to the multiplex to obtain hathos when The Ricki Lake Show beams it in every weekday for free?
Rod Dreher, "Hate it, love it," Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), January 7, 1996
hathos (hay'thos) n., pl. double hathos A pleasurable sense of loathing, or a loathing sense of pleasure, aroused by certain schlocky, schmaltzy or just- plain-bad show-business personalities: "Hearing the audience applaud when Dr. Joyce Brothers told Merv Griffin that, aside from being a brilliant comedienne, Charo is a 'genius on the classical guitar' filled me with hathos." [American: hate/happy pathos lachrymose (?)] ha-thot-ic adj.
Alex Heard, "Beyond Hate: The Giddy Thrill of Hathos," The Washington Post, May 17, 1987
In this age of Bachelors, Bachelorettes, Average Joes, and Paris Hiltons, it's good to be re-introduced to a newly useful word such as hathos, an effortless blend of hate and pathos. The word may be nearly 17 years old (it was coined by journalist Alex Heard in 1987, as the first use, below, shows), but we need it more than ever in 2004.