jolly

adjective
jol·ly | \ ˈjä-lē \
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

Those merry eyes, the warmth, the ability to get the help cracking in a jolly way and then not so jolly. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "The Secrets of a Great First Spouse," 19 Apr. 2018 That was made evident in the morning after Liverpool's 1-3 loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League final when Klopp was filmed having a jolly sing-along with Reds fans - at 6am. SI.com, "Video: Jurgen Klopp Helps Console Liverpool Fans With Reds Chant After UCL Loss to Real Madrid," 27 May 2018 Likethumb_up2 Replyreply Linklink Copy Reportflag calling all toasters 58 minutes ago What a jolly boatload of psychopaths! Eli Rosenberg, Washington Post, "Kellyanne Conway hears ‘Laurel’ but says she’s willing to tell others ‘Yanny’ in White House video," 17 May 2018 Her father’s wartime experience sounds jolly by comparison. Michael Lapointe, The Atlantic, "The Twisted Tale of the World’s Largest Pearl," 11 May 2018 Once these two jolly sisters ventured off on a bus trip to South Florida to see a subdivision that was luring investors — the precursor of a time-share pitch. Joy Wallace Dickinson, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Magic carpets of steel brought family together," 13 May 2018 Here children can visit Santa and get a photo taken with the jolly elf himself. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Weekend guide: Snow day at Discovery World, Charlie Brown grandparents brunch and more," 12 Dec. 2017 With his Jesus-like tresses and almost criminally jolly nature, the show’s resident grooming expert quickly became a fan favorite. Yohana Desta, HWD, "Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness Is Waiting for the Salon World’s #MeToo Moment," 17 Apr. 2018 The jolly drive of that theme contrasts the bleak environment. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "'Isle of Dogs': Wes Anderson's desolate canine tale of loyalty," 26 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

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 And the title, the idea of a merry spinster — the idea of jolly, self-sufficient female solitude — that’s very dear to me. Heather Havrilesky, The Cut, "‘Mallory Is Not Gone’: Daniel Mallory Ortberg on Coming Out As Trans," 13 Mar. 2018 The right jolly old elf's generosity has been replaced in college basketball by shoe companies, unscrupulous agents and crooked coaches buying players. Bill Livingston, cleveland.com, "March Madness 2018: Virginia is No. 1, but will it win? -- Bill Livingston," 13 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

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

Adverb

see jolly entry 1

Noun

see jolly entry 1

Verb

see jolly entry 1

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Learn More about jolly

Phrases Related to jolly

get one's jollies

jolly well

Statistics for jolly

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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

: very pleasant or enjoyable

jolly

adverb

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

: very or extremely

jolly

adjective
jol·ly | \ ˈjä-lē \
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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Comments on jolly

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