mer·​ry ˈmer-ē How to pronounce merry (audio)
merrier; merriest
: full of gaiety or high spirits : mirthful
eat, drink, and be merry
: marked by festivity or gaiety
a merry holiday time
: quick, brisk
a merry pace
archaic : giving pleasure : delightful
ˈmer-ə-lē How to pronounce merry (audio)
ˈmer-ē-nəs How to pronounce merry (audio)
Choose the Right Synonym for merry

merry, blithe, jocund, jovial, jolly mean showing high spirits or lightheartedness.

merry suggests cheerful, joyous, uninhibited enjoyment of frolic or festivity.

a merry group of revelers

blithe suggests carefree, innocent, or even heedless gaiety.

arrived late in his usual blithe way

jocund stresses elation and exhilaration of spirits.

singing, dancing, and jocund feasting

jovial suggests the stimulation of conviviality and good fellowship.

dinner put them in a jovial mood

jolly suggests high spirits expressed in laughing, bantering, and jesting.

our jolly host enlivened the party

Examples of merry in a Sentence

Let's eat, drink, and be merry! They sang a merry little song.
Recent Examples on the Web Tips for Prettier Christmas Trees 05 Rainbow Hues Capture the essence of a merry Christmas with a rainbow of happy hues. Sophie Flaxman, Better Homes & Gardens, 14 Sep. 2023 Prabal Gurung always attracts a merry band of loyalists. Zachary Weiss, Vogue, 10 Sep. 2023 Thompson is an easy laugh, bearded and merry—an effortlessly comfortable presence, as if a fisherman’s sweater had a doctorate in education. Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 5 Sep. 2023 So-equipped, the fizzy little 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is good for 125 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque, rasping its merry song out of a stainless-steel exhaust. Brendan McAleer, Car and Driver, 26 Aug. 2023 The regatta of the striders' lives looks merry though death will come by frog or cold or generation's close. Lynn Levin, Scientific American, 15 Aug. 2023 Both voyages will be hosted on the Norwegian Gem, which will be transformed into a floating winter wonderland for a merry voyage from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas. Erin Clack, Peoplemag, 2 Aug. 2023 On Christmas day, the indictment reads, Mike Pence called his boss to wish him a merry Christmas. Ken Tran, USA TODAY, 1 Aug. 2023 Vadym, 19, the fast-talking, wisecracking merry warrior of the bunch, is typical. Serhii Korolchuk, Washington Post, 1 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English mery, from Old English myrge, merge; akin to Old High German murg short — more at brief

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of merry was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near merry

Cite this Entry

“Merry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


mer·​ry ˈmer-ē How to pronounce merry (audio)
merrier; merriest
: full of good humor and good spirits : mirthful
: marked by gaiety or festivity
a merry Christmas
merrily adverb
merriness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on merry

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