de·​lec·​ta·​tion ˌdē-ˌlek-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce delectation (audio)

Did you know?

Pleasure, delight, and enjoyment are all synonyms and all signify the agreeable emotion accompanying the possession or expectation of what is good or greatly desired. Why, then, use delectation, that not-so-familiar synonym? Because, as with most synonym groups, each word has its own subtle distinctions. Pleasure stresses satisfaction or gratification of the senses. Delight adds the idea of liveliness or obviousness in that satisfaction, often less enduring than pleasure. Enjoyment suggests a wide range of deep pleasure from merely transient, though complete, gratification to deep-seated happiness. Delectation (which is from the Latin word for "delight") suggests a reaction to pleasurable experience consciously sought or provided. More than all the others, it connotes amusement or diversion.

Examples of delectation in a Sentence

Here is some chocolate for your delectation. tourists enjoying the delectations of this tropical paradise for the first time
Recent Examples on the Web Magnificent, with a thundering equine climax for adult delectation. Armond White, National Review, 28 June 2023 Six years before Die Hard’s John McClane ran barefoot over broken glass at Nakatomi Plaza, Stallone had punished himself for the audience’s delectation in First Blood, kicking off the craze for one-man-army thrillers. Vulture, 3 Aug. 2022 In fact, Saul is a performance artist, and what is performed upon him, for the delectation of a jaded audience, is surgery. The New Yorker, 3 June 2022 Harry Haft was a Polish Jew who made it through Auschwitz by fighting other inmates for the delectation of Nazi officers. Vulture, 9 June 2022 That episode winds up coming full circle to involve Saul and Caprice in a stunt that will put their competitors (a dervish-dancing man who has sprouted multiple ears; a woman who mutilates herself for the delectation of the elite) to shame. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 1 June 2022 That show presented the cultures of colonized peoples in Africa and Asia for the delectation of bourgeois westerners, spurring a profound counter-reaction among Asian and African intellectuals. Washington Post, 22 Apr. 2022 In a 1785 painting, the bend of her body and her over-the-shoulder glance invite delectation; her white garb conjures Ancient Greece or Rome. Cate McQuaid,, 8 Feb. 2022 Herewith, for your holiday-reading delectation, a list of 31 notable long-form pieces from 2021. Mark Robinson, Wired, 22 Dec. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'delectation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of delectation was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near delectation

Cite this Entry

“Delectation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​lec·​ta·​tion ˌdē-ˌlek-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce delectation (audio)
: something that gives pleasure : diversion

More from Merriam-Webster on delectation

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!