\ ˈjȯi How to pronounce joy (audio) \

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 How to pronounce joy (audio) \ adjective
joylessly adverb
joylessness noun

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Frances McDormand let out a bellowing howl Sunday night on the Oscars stage, but the show-stopping moment was more than just a primal expression of joy in celebration. Joey Nolfi,, "Chloé Zhao explains why Frances McDormand howled at the Oscars," 26 Apr. 2021 Seeing her sister distraught over having to say goodbye to a job that had brought her such joy, helped Shari come up with an idea. Charli Penn, Essence, "Meet Sisters Who Combined Their Gifts, Bet On Themselves and Brought A Winning Cake Business To Life," 23 Apr. 2021 But the smiling face with a tear, or a tear of joy, is now on all our keyboards. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Behind the scenes of the annual new emoji selections," 23 Apr. 2021 And the multi-color, thin, light new iMacs are full of joy. Will Jeakle, Forbes, "Kindness Makes A Comeback In Apple’s ‘Spring Loaded’ Event," 21 Apr. 2021 From relief to tears of joy, there was an emotional outpouring across the country in response to Derek Chauvin's murder conviction in the death of George Floyd. NBC News, "Chauvin verdict hailed as 'a step forward,' but still 'not enough'," 21 Apr. 2021 But after hearing it three times, tears of joy came, Griffin sobbed from her bedroom. CBS News, "Eric Garner's mother reacts to Derek Chauvin's conviction: "Tears started falling from my eyes"," 21 Apr. 2021 Time spent with friends and family brought Lafata the greatest joy. Brendel Hightower, Detroit Free Press, "Clinton Township man who had a playful sense of humor died of COVID-19 complications," 18 Apr. 2021 Hats off to director @noellechesnutw and every talented person who brought joy today through #LionKingCH. Alexis Benveniste, CNN, "Miss Broadway musicals? Try Clubhouse," 17 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But some of the most affecting shots in the book are quieter, more solitary—eschewing big, newsmaking events for private moments of fear, grief, disorientation, and sometimes even joy. Amy Weiss-meyer, The Atlantic, "The Surreality of Documenting 2020," 23 Apr. 2021 Alexis McGill Johnson, the president of Planned Parenthood, said the worries that plagued her throughout 2020 gave way to joy with the Democrats' Senate victories in Georgia. David Crary, Star Tribune, "Political upheaval alters strategies in US abortion debate," 23 Jan. 2021 As professional photography editors, we are accustomed to seeing a little bit of everything: war, famine, fires, hurricanes, politics, suffering, beauty, silliness and sometimes joy. Washington Post, "An extraordinary year in photos," 9 Dec. 2020 Cochran hopes the performance will bring people joy. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Unable to sing together, Anchorage choir members try to keep community alive during unusual holiday season," 29 Nov. 2020 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

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

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Time Traveler for joy

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for joy

Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Joy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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
British, informal : success in doing, finding, or getting something


\ ˈjȯi How to pronounce joy (audio) \

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

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