plea·sure | \ ˈple-zhər , ˈplā- \

Definition of pleasure 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : desire, inclination wait upon his pleasure —William Shakespeare

2 : a state of gratification

3a : sensual gratification

b : frivolous amusement

4 : a source of delight or joy


pleasured; pleasuring\ˈplezh-riŋ, ˈplāzh-; ˈple-zhə-, ˈplā- \

Definition of pleasure (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to give pleasure to : gratify

2 : to give sexual pleasure to

intransitive verb

1 : to take pleasure : delight

2 : to seek pleasure

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for pleasure


pleasure, joy, and enjoyment mean the agreeable feeling that accompanies getting something good or much wanted. pleasure is used for a feeling of happiness or satisfaction that may not be shown openly. He took pleasure in helping others. joy is used for a radiant feeling that is very strong. Hers is a life filled with joy. enjoyment is used for a conscious reaction to something intended to make a person happy. The songs added to our enjoyment of the movie.

Examples of pleasure in a Sentence


I paint for the sheer pleasure of it. His grandparents took great pleasure in seeing him graduate from college. Is this trip for business or pleasure? It is a special pleasure for me to be here with you today. Now I can enjoy the simple pleasures of life, like spending time with my family.


a wine that is sure to pleasure even the most discriminating palate
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There’s a certain kind of pleasure in really feeling for someone else, even if those feeling are bad. Brian Resnick, Vox, "A sociologist explains why we make spectacle out of trauma like the Thai cave boys," 11 July 2018 Much of the pleasure of fandom comes from being connected to other fans. Nancy Baym, WIRED, "Book Excerpt: How Music Fans Built the Internet," 10 July 2018 Ty Dolla $ign joins to elaborate on the scene, adding another voice to the chorus in pursuit of masculine pleasure. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Teyana Taylor’s Music Has Matured, but Has Her Label?," 25 June 2018 These neurons control the release of the transmitter dopamine, which is associated with an enhanced sense of pleasure. Leslie Henderson, Scientific American, "Why Our Brains See the World as "Us" versus "Them"," 22 June 2018 The researchers point to the work of University of Kent scientist Samuele Marcora, noting that feelings of pleasure may have a subtle influence on how your brain interprets the effort of exercise. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, "You’re Faster with Friends, Even Uphill," 20 June 2018 One of the pleasures of the video is knowing that there’s no punishment coming. Kaitlyn Greenidge, Glamour, "In the Louvre, Beyoncé Proves There's Power in Repurposing Art History," 18 June 2018 One of the pleasures of touring the American West is buying Native American art. Daniel Grant, WSJ, "What You Need to Know About Buying Native-American Art," 8 June 2018 That multilayered subtext is one of the foremost pleasures of the show, whose national tour opened Wednesday, June 6, at SHN’s Orpheum Theatre. Lily Janiak, San Francisco Chronicle, "Family is a miracle in SHN’s ‘The Humans’," 7 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Hell, the only mistress he’d had, years ago, hadn’t figured out how to pleasure him like this. Eliza Thompson, Cosmopolitan, "Eloisa James Shares a Steamy Excerpt From Her New Book Too Wilde to Wed," 9 Jan. 2018 After all, there’s room for only one man in this administration who has the ability to pleasure himself. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: The Mooch Admits He Made an "Unforced Error" in First TV Interview," 13 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pleasure.' 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 pleasure


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1537, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for pleasure


Middle English plesure, alteration of plesir, from Anglo-French plaisir, from plaisir to please

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pleasure

Statistics for pleasure

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pleasure

The first known use of pleasure was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pleasure



English Language Learners Definition of pleasure

: a feeling of happiness, enjoyment, or satisfaction : a pleasant or pleasing feeling

: activity that is done for enjoyment

: something or someone that causes a feeling of happiness, enjoyment, or satisfaction


plea·sure | \ ˈple-zhər \

Kids Definition of pleasure

1 : a feeling of enjoyment or satisfaction I take great pleasure in reading.

2 : recreation or enjoyment Is the trip for business or pleasure?

3 : something that pleases or delights It's been a pleasure working with you.

4 : a particular desire What is your pleasure?

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on pleasure

What made you want to look up pleasure? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


characteristic trappings or dress

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things 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!