\ ˈjȯi \

Definition of joy 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight

b : the expression or exhibition of such emotion : gaiety

2 : a state of happiness or felicity : bliss

3 : a source or cause of delight


joyed; joying; joys

Definition of joy (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to experience great pleasure or delight : rejoice

transitive verb

1 archaic : gladden

2 archaic : enjoy

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Other words from joy


joyless \ˈjȯi-ləs \ adjective
joylessly adverb
joylessness noun

Examples of joy in a Sentence


Their sorrow turned to joy. I can hardly express the joy I felt at seeing her again. Seeing her again brought tears of joy to my eyes. The flowers are a joy to behold! What a joy it was to see her again.


the whole town is joying in the fact that its oldest church has been restored to its Victorian splendor
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

According to Mumby, the Harford camp is modeled on a program created by iCan Shine, Inc., a Pennsylvania nonprofit charitable organization which has helped more than 20,000 people with disabilities experience the joy of bike riding. The Aegis, "Harford concludes another successful iCan Bike Camp," 13 July 2018 By appointment only: 954 558 3227 or email Yoga at C.B. Smith Park Experience the joy of losing weight, less stress, more strength, increased flexibility, and more concentration, focus and stamina., "Davie and Cooper City area events, June 6-16," 6 June 2018 When his University of Virginia classmates discussed the story of a peasant woman who found joy amid pain and isolation, Josh Pritchett didn’t say anything. Susan Svrluga, Washington Post, "Tolstoy behind bars: Why U-Va. students are reading Russian literature in a prison," 5 July 2018 But hundreds of tweets of joy were quickly dashed last month when Hofmann followed up to say the project is postponed indefinitely, citing financial and legal fees as the cause. Madeline Buxton,, "Vine Is Dead, But The Internet Is Determined To Keep It Alive," 21 June 2018 Coffee or tea service — and more so, the ritual of the preparation itself — is a ceremony that crosses cultures across the globe, and can also be a chance to not only pause, reflect and relax, but also find joy in the simple pleasures in life. Sarah Fritsche, San Francisco Chronicle, "Where to find unforgettable tea and coffee service in the Bay Area," 25 May 2018 For those of us who make a habit of investing our allegiance in underdogs, then, the World Cup often reads like an interminable, run-on sentence of tragedy, loosely punctuated with eruptions of joy. Kanishk Tharoor, The Atlantic, "The Elusive Underdog Magic of the World Cup," 14 July 2018 Losing himself in the quest for excellence, in the special kind of joy with which children fill minor league ballparks on summer nights, is a good thing for him right now. Dom Amore,, "Dom Amore: Yard Goats' Sam Hilliard Stoically Carries A Burden As He Pursues Big Leagues," 10 July 2018 Their joy and relief was echoed around the globe by the multitude of people who had followed the long ordeal. Kaweewit Kaewjinda, The Seattle Times, "‘Everyone is safe’ after daring rescue of 13 in Thai cave," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Part of reversing that fear is getting families to steadily recall memories, tastes, and other sensations that gave their sons and daughters joy or comfort in youth. Fox News, "Confessions of a former jihadist recruiter who now deradicalizes potential terrorists," 3 May 2018 There are three ways to get involved: Wear PINK in Holly’s honor Make a plan to share hugs and spread love & joy through random acts of heartfelt kindness for those in your community. Jeff Zrebiec,, "The Heap family is asking you to honor the memory of their daughter Wednesday," 2 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'joy.' 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 joy


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for joy


Middle English, from Anglo-French joie, from Latin gaudia, plural of gaudium, from gaudēre to rejoice; probably akin to Greek gēthein to rejoice


see joy entry 1

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Phrases Related to joy

jump for joy

pride and joy

shout for joy

Statistics for joy

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for joy

The first known use of joy was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for joy



English Language Learners Definition of joy

: a feeling of great happiness

: a source or cause of great happiness : something or someone that gives joy to someone

: success in doing, finding, or getting something


\ ˈjȯi \

Kids Definition of joy

1 : a feeling of pleasure or happiness that comes from success, good fortune, or a sense of well-being

2 : something that gives pleasure or happiness It's a joy to have you visit.

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Comments on joy

What made you want to look up joy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a magnificent or impressive array

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