jolly

adjective
jol·​ly | \ ˈjä-lē How to pronounce jolly (audio) \
jollier; jolliest

Definition of jolly

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a(1) : full of high spirits : joyous think no more, lad; laugh, be jolly— A. E. Housman
(2) : given to conviviality : jovial a jolly companion
b : expressing, suggesting, or inspiring lively happiness and good cheer : cheerful jolly laughter
2 : extremely pleasant or agreeable : splendid had a jolly time

jolly

adverb

Definition of jolly (Entry 2 of 4)

: very would … do as they were jolly well told— John Stockbridge

jolly

noun
plural jollies

Definition of jolly (Entry 3 of 4)

1 chiefly British : a good time : jollification
2 jollies plural : kicks get their jollies by reenacting famous murders— H. F. Waters

jolly

verb
jollied; jollying

Definition of jolly (Entry 4 of 4)

intransitive verb

: to engage in good-natured banter jollied and joked with sailors in the street— Dixon Wecter

transitive verb

: to put or try to put in good humor especially to gain an end try to pay for their entertainment by jollying us along— S. E. White

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Choose the Right Synonym for jolly

Adjective

merry, blithe, jocund, jovial, jolly mean showing high spirits or lightheartedness. merry suggests cheerful, joyous, uninhibited enjoyment of frolic or festivity. a merry group of revelers blithe suggests carefree, innocent, or even heedless gaiety. arrived late in his usual blithe way jocund stresses elation and exhilaration of spirits. singing, dancing, and jocund feasting jovial suggests the stimulation of conviviality and good fellowship. dinner put them in a jovial mood jolly suggests high spirits expressed in laughing, bantering, and jesting. our jolly host enlivened the party

Examples of jolly in a Sentence

Adjective

Our boss was a very jolly man, always laughing. She had a jolly time at the party.

Adverb

“I've finished my assignment.” “Jolly good!” She learned to be jolly careful in his presence.

Verb

spent their nights around the campfire good-naturedly jollying and telling scary stories
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But this year, someone within the Hallmark family is looking elsewhere for their chance to headline a holly jolly feature. Megan Stein, Country Living, "A ‘When Calls the Heart’ Star Just Got Cast in a Christmas Movie—But It’s Not on Hallmark," 26 Mar. 2019 The two took the royal train to Cheshire and seemed to have a jolly good time. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Kate Middleton Just Did Her First-Ever Solo Engagement with the Queen," 19 Mar. 2019 Trees decked out in jolly snowman accessories are the latest Christmas craze to take over homes and Pinterest. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Snowman Christmas Trees Are the Cutest Holiday Trend You'll See This Year," 29 Nov. 2017 The women were a jolly bunch, laughing and joking together. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 Santa is just a jolly old fellow who wants to see everyone happy and deeply in the throes of love. Lourdes Avila Uribe, Glamour, "What You Can Expect to See in Every Single Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie," 24 Dec. 2018 Everyone’s favorite The Voice coach, Kelly Clarkson, along with the Backstreet Boys, Maren Morris, and illusionists Penn & Teller are also joining for the jolly affair, according to Billboard. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Pentatonix Announces Their 2018 Christmas Special 'A Not So Silent Night'," 29 Nov. 2018 Everything seems to be in order for their special mission, but then the jolly man in red (Kurt Russel) himself delivers an unexpected surprise. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Christmas Movies on Netflix You Can Stream During the Holidays," 19 Dec. 2018 Every December, shopping malls bring in jolly, white-whiskered Santas to pose for photos with children. Jennifer Levitz, WSJ, "Sad Santas Confront Empty Malls: ‘Do I Have Something in My Beard?’," 17 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Of course, not everything in this episode appears to be holly and jolly, as a previous trailer teased a special appearance from Santa... and Satan. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Christmas Movies on Netflix You Can Stream During the Holidays," 19 Dec. 2018 In the fourth installment of the open-world driving franchise, Forza Horizon 4, gamers and car enthusiasts will be motoring around jolly old England. Anthony Alaniz, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know About Forza Horizon 4," 11 Sep. 2018 Upon arriving in Afghanistan, Mr. Sarkisian, a jolly, easygoing man, became friends with Zahir Shah, the king, who insisted that the couple extend their eight-month stay to 3½ years. BostonGlobe.com, "Leo Sarkisian, at 97; creator of VOA’s ‘Music Time in Africa’," 4 July 2018 Upon arriving in Afghanistan, Mr. Sarkisian, a jolly, easygoing man, became friends with Zahir Shah, the king, who insisted that the couple extend their eight-month stay to three-and-a-half years. Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post, "Leo Sarkisian, who brought African music to listeners around the world, dies at 97," 30 June 2018 He and MBrown learned from the dreadful 2010 post mortem: Coach was jolly. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Daugherty: Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is a victim of his own success," 4 Jan. 2018 The winter holiday event typically involves jolly old St. Nick traveling through town and passing out candy to kids, according to the website. Genevieve Bookwalter, chicagotribune.com, "Morton Grove's May pancake breakfast raises money for Santa's December visit," 30 Apr. 2018 The flavor of his artisanal practice is jolly, macho, and altogether reminiscent of the masculine scenery of a Thomas Hardy novel. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Does Crafting Make People Happier?," 9 Apr. 2018 By the end of the game, one and all are quite jolly. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "Unsupervised Fun At Club Getaway: A Summer Camp For Adults," 28 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The rich customers came off as ruthless one-percenters, getting their jollies by shooting cowboys and raping women. Kristi Turnquist, OregonLive.com, "'Westworld' Season 2: Violence is abundant, but delights are scarce (review)," 20 Apr. 2018 The Hamptons can finally get its jollies out after years of burning, suppressed desire, a tension that could press coal into diamond in a second flat. Richard Lawson, Vanities, "Finally, the Hamptons Will Be Sexy," 5 July 2017 The Hamptons can finally get its jollies out after years of burning, suppressed desire, a tension that could press coal into diamond in a second flat. Richard Lawson, vanityfair.com, "Finally, the Hamptons Will Be Sexy," 5 July 2017 And as ever with Gorillaz, Albarn got his jollies by leading the way through bouncy, easily accessible and playfully experimental pop songs that whimsically combine mostly American music forms, with the help of lots of guests. Dan Deluca, Philly.com, "Review: Gorillaz satisfy a soggy crowd at Festival Pier," 14 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

So Watt sets out to convince them that the real killer is Peter Manuel by — wait for it! — taking him out on a bender and jollying him into a confession. Marilyn Stasio, New York Times, "Scots on the Rocks and Jo Nesbo’s Latest: The Best New Crime Fiction," 19 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jolly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of jolly

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Adverb

1549, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1905, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1610, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for jolly

Adjective, Adverb, Noun, and Verb

Middle English joli, from Anglo-French jolif, from jol-, probably from Old Norse jōl midwinter festival — more at yule

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Learn More about jolly

Statistics for jolly

Last Updated

5 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jolly

The first known use of jolly was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for jolly

jolly

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of jolly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: full of happiness and joy : happy and cheerful
old-fashioned : very pleasant or enjoyable

jolly

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of jolly (Entry 2 of 2)

British, informal + old-fashioned : very or extremely

jolly

adjective
jol·​ly | \ ˈjä-lē How to pronounce jolly (audio) \
jollier; jolliest

Kids Definition of jolly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: full of fun or joy

jolly

adverb

Kids Definition of jolly (Entry 2 of 2)

: very entry 1 sense 1 We had a jolly good time.

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More from Merriam-Webster on jolly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jolly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jolly

Spanish Central: Translation of jolly

Nglish: Translation of jolly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jolly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on jolly

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