1 of 2


: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight
: the expression or exhibition of such emotion : gaiety
: a state of happiness or felicity : bliss
: a source or cause of delight
joyless adjective
joylessly adverb
joylessness noun


2 of 2


joyed; joying; joys

intransitive verb

: to experience great pleasure or delight : rejoice

transitive verb

archaic : gladden
archaic : enjoy

Examples of joy in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb the whole town is joying in the fact that its oldest church has been restored to its Victorian splendor See More
Recent Examples on the Web
One of my greatest joys was co-creating the first Indigenous baby food recipe, Three Sisters, with my cousin Chef Corey Azure of our tribe. Rebekah Bastian, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Bautista wants to spread that joy to others and save pet lives in the process. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 27 Nov. 2023 Reflecting on this year's theme, Biden said magic, wonder and joy can sometimes be hard to find. Brittany Gaddy, ABC News, 27 Nov. 2023 For the first weekend in almost two months, relief and joy in Israel, with more than two dozen hostages returning home as part of a deal with Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. CBS News, 26 Nov. 2023 In some ways, the looming terror of the annual Ohio State beatdown stripped some joy from the journey that should have been tapped. J. Brady McCollough, Los Angeles Times, 26 Nov. 2023 The characters show empathy for others, particularly those in need, and learn that believing in something larger than yourself — like, say, Santa — can bring joy. Common Sense Media, Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2023 Suit up your little bundle of joy for the winter in Primary’s puffer suit—available in several bright colors and 41% off right now—and Old Navy’s faux-suede, faux-fur booties, which are currently 50% off at checkout. Lauren Levy, Parents, 24 Nov. 2023 Picture the joy of unboxing a smart home device that promises to simplify life or the comfort of slipping into plush, warm joggers that feel like a hug. Kristi Arnold, Rolling Stone, 15 Nov. 2023
Acevedo’s treatment of magic as an everyday possibility is compelling, but there is also magic in the wonder, surprise, frustrations, and joys the characters experience in their relationships with one another. Nicole Chung, Time, 25 July 2023 In Rachel Kushner’s essay collection, The Hard Crowd, specifically the titular essay, there is an ode to joy near the beginning. Harper's BAZAAR, 31 Jan. 2023 Before long, her videos were the ones bringing people joy. Ineye Komonibo,, 9 Dec. 2022 But also to joy in and record the astonishment—inner and outer. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 1 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near joy

Cite this Entry

“Joy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a feeling of great pleasure or happiness that comes from success, good fortune, or a sense of well-being : gladness
: something that gives joy
a joy to behold
joyless adjective
joylessness noun


2 of 2 verb
: to experience joy : rejoice

More from Merriam-Webster on joy

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