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

Example Sentences

Let's eat, drink, and be merry! They sang a merry little song.
Recent Examples on the Web May your days be merry, bright, and awash in glitter like it’s 1999. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, 15 Dec. 2022 This Homesick winter mantel candles is infused with top notes of fraser fir and holly berry, mid notes of eucalyptus and mistletoe, and base notes of sugar, spruce, and cedar for a truly merry fragrance. Lily Gray, Better Homes & Gardens, 25 Nov. 2022 Even your dog can get in on the fun with some of these delightfully merry outfits. Hannah Deely, Good Housekeeping, 30 Nov. 2022 In an Instagram post praising his pregnant wife Heather Rae El Moussa's skills for conjuring the Christmas spirit in the couple's home, the Flipping 101 star also revealed that his holidays weren't always merry and bright. Sam Burros, Peoplemag, 28 Dec. 2022 Ariana Grande made certain that kids facing injuries or illnesses during Christmas this year still felt merry and bright. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 28 Dec. 2022 To keep things merry (not everyone will see possibilities in a tiny cardigan), always include a receipt so the gift can be exchanged, said Ms. Swann. Faran Krentcil And Todd Plummer, WSJ, 1 Dec. 2022 There comes a point in every holiday party where people want to do something besides eat, drink and be merry. Rob Wieland, Forbes, 20 Dec. 2022 On the Billboard Hot 100 songs and Billboard 200 albums charts (both dated Dec. 10), the lists are looking very merry and bright. Keith Caulfield, Billboard, 6 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'merry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 9 Feb. 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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