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
Instead, joy has a mysterious capacity to be felt alongside sorry and even . . . Steven Petrow, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Sep. 2023 True beauty in sports is knowing the painful joy of loving a loser and being forever hopeful for a better day. Joseph Goodman |, al, 2 Sep. 2023 Fires are threatening cultural heritage, too, in a part of the world known as much for the ruins of ancient civilization as the joys of the modern vacation. Elinda Labropoulou, Washington Post, 2 Sep. 2023 But what about Me & My Phone? When an adult child rips a family apart The Power of Today: A message from the funeral of John Adams Does sports gambling impact the joy of sports? Terry Pluto, cleveland, 2 Sep. 2023 The film cuts to the aftermath of the concert: Lenny, onstage, giggling with joy, which is his form of generosity. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 2 Sep. 2023 In a compelling essay, the French existentialist Albert Camus argued that Sisyphus' defiant embrace of his fate transformed his labors into a source of meaning — and even joy. William Falk, The Week, 2 Sep. 2023 Pamela Anderson reminded us to find joy in everyday routines. Grace McCarty, SELF, 1 Sep. 2023 Three Pulitzer-winning cartoonists axed in one shocking day To other editorial artists, mocking this moment in history brings no joy. Michael Cavna, Washington Post, 19 Aug. 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 25 Sep. 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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