\ ˈjȯi How to pronounce joy (audio) \

Essential Meaning of joy

1 : a feeling of great happiness Their sorrow turned to joy. I can hardly express the joy I felt at seeing her again. See More ExamplesSeeing her again brought tears of joy to my eyes. He found great joy in (doing) his work. She answered the phone and, to her great joy, heard her son's voice on the line. [=she felt very happy when she heard her son's voice] They were shouting/jumping for joy. [=they shouted/jumped because they were very happy]Hide
2 : a source or cause of great happiness : something or someone that gives joy to someone The flowers are a joy to behold! What a joy it was to see her again. See More Examplesthe joy of sailing the joys of parenthood Her son is her pride and joy. [=her son makes her very proud and happy]Hide
3 British, informal : success in doing, finding, or getting something "You've spent hours looking for it. Any joy? [=luck]" "No joy whatsoever, I'm afraid. I can't find it."

Full 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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Imagery in the collection will focus on themes of Indigenous joy, community and conservation, Indigenous environmentalism and the natural world. Sonia Thompson, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 He was overcome with joy, disbelief and gratitude and bolted across the yard to hug his dad. Diane Bell Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Oct. 2021 The thankfulness didn’t just stop with India, providence and clarity, but for massive pipes, warm nights and survivors’ joy. Chris Willman, Variety, 6 Oct. 2021 Add to that the joy that's always been the DNA of this production, and Six truly is the top ticket to celebrate the return of the live stage show. Ruth Kinane,, 4 Oct. 2021 Afrofuturism often works to amplify elements and themes of Black culture: people, history, persecution, liberation, joy, community, and more. Junae Benne, Wired, 30 Sep. 2021 There’s joy here, there’s events here, people have fun. Darcel Rockett,, 28 Sep. 2021 For parents like Chea, this farewell to sustained domestic chaos has come with a grab bag of emotions: joy, relief — and yes, new flavors of stress. Washington Post, 23 Sep. 2021 Some parents explained the joy — and pain — of caring for a child with cerebral palsy. Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And each has discovered ways to continue bringing light and joy into the world. Julianna Morano, Dallas News, 16 Sep. 2021 This painting inspires joy rather like Hokusai’s beautiful blue skies, an almost tactile sense of the atmosphere as something that sustains and protects us. Washington Post, 16 July 2021 Typically, a Tanglewood summer sends everyone off with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and its famous paean to joy., 16 Aug. 2021 Burkina Faso gained its independence from France in 1960 -- and often joy. Nick Remsen, CNN, 22 June 2021 And wider gaps, too—the ones created by grief (or even joy) that someone else will never understand. Clare Sestanovich, The New Yorker, 7 June 2021 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, 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, 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, 9 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About joy

Time Traveler for joy

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near joy




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for joy

Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Joy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for joy


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on joy

Nglish: Translation of joy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of joy for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about joy


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!