plea·​sure | \ ˈple-zhər How to pronounce pleasure (audio) , ˈplā- How to pronounce pleasure (audio) \

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 How to pronounce pleasure (audio) , 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

Examples of pleasure in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb a wine that is sure to pleasure even the most discriminating palate See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There are still drops of pleasure to be wrung from the happy memories, even as the thoughts of Manchester City’s fans start to drift to the delights to come. New York Times, 29 July 2022 Some people, of course, take a kind of pleasure in repudiating their own past. Christian Lorentzen, Harper’s Magazine , 20 July 2022 Plenty of pleasure can be derived from simply watching The Rehearsal as one big social experiment conducted by a perfectionist with an impossibly large budget courtesy of HBO. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 16 July 2022 The snubs are part of the pleasure of the Emmys — the argument and conversation that the nominations and winners are wont to trigger. Matthew Gilbert,, 13 July 2022 Part of that pleasure is the assembling of the keyboard’s switches, installation of the keycaps, and adding their own choice of stabilizers and damping materials. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 13 June 2022 Venus, the planet of pleasure, is syncing up with unexpected Uranus in your relationship sector. Chicago Tribune, 11 June 2022 When bitten into, during the inhumane ordeal of commercial air travel, this mammoth creation—both oddly nostalgic and obscenely indulgent, maybe a bit like Los Angeles itself—feels like a small, rebellious act of pleasure. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 10 June 2022 The pursuit of pleasure is also really important in this book. Lorraine Avila,, 17 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The grotesquerie of the images is meant to interrupt what pleasure the scene might otherwise prompt. Namwali Serpell, The New York Review of Books, 6 July 2022 Now that effort will pay off, so relax and let someone pleasure you. Allure, 18 Mar. 2022 This romance is about a grumpy Scottish laird falling for a feisty English lady, and trust me, this man knows how to pleasure his woman. Jenny Singer, Glamour, 14 Feb. 2022 Different races have different ratios of misery to pleasure. Jonathan Beverly, Outside Online, 21 Jan. 2020 Try to tap into your creative energy with ample time allotted to art, hobbies, or pleasure each week. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 Dec. 2021 Try to tap into your creative energy with ample time allotted to art, hobbies, or pleasure each week. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 Dec. 2021 The complaint also said Gilbert attempted to persuade the woman to pleasure herself in her bedroom with the door open. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5 Dec. 2021 Try to tap into your creative energy with ample time allotted to art, hobbies, or pleasure each week. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

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

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pleasure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for pleasure


plea·​sure | \ ˈple-zhər How to pronounce pleasure (audio) \

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?

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on pleasure

Nglish: Translation of pleasure for Spanish Speakers

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


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