\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

The discovery of all 12 boys alive brought with it joy and a maniacal focus on rescue. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "All 12 Thai Boys Rescued From Cave," 10 July 2018 While the four championships, six All-Star appearances and four All-NBA selections highlight his resume, the biggest joy for me has been to have the pleasure of watching TP grow up before our eyes. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Spurs legend Tony Parker agrees to sign with Hornets," 6 July 2018 Excavations began in 1748, and a major tourist attraction was born — hence the joy Goethe spoke of. Mark Feeney,, "At Yale: on the threshold and under the volcano," 6 July 2018 Fans outside at an Avaya Stadium watch party in San Jose, California, cheered for joy when South Korea made that task essentially impossible in stoppage time. Heather Boehm,, "WATCH: Mexico Fans Celebrate, Thank South Korean Fans for World Cup Assist," 27 June 2018 The distinct joy that comes with barely cooking means there’s more time for socializing. Jinnie Lee, Vogue, "Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski, and the Joy of Barely Cooking," 27 June 2018 There was joy and revelry and, something in desperately short supply since, legitimate American pride. Will Leitch, Daily Intelligencer, "Missing the World Cup Is Like Detention for the United States," 13 June 2018 Jumping for joy What developer Moon Studios does so well is suggest a vast and unknowable world with the broadest of brush strokes. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Ori and the Will of the Wisps hands-on: Recapturing that magic feeling," 11 June 2018 And there's this, which shows the joy that two people can bring each other. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "Victor Oladipo plays a relationship therapist on Twitter," 8 June 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

8 Oct 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).


not any or not one

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