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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Joyce took great pleasure in the achievements of her children and grandchildren., "Joyce A. Grinold," 13 July 2018 Apart from working with a variety of charities close to her heart and making a name for herself as a strong, bold woman, Herring also takes pleasure in enjoying some of life's indulgences. Daniela Sternitzky-di Napoli, Houston Chronicle, "Houston socialite, philanthropist Joanne Herring through the years," 3 July 2018 Like LaBeouf, Hill presents as someone who takes pleasure in dressing himself, as opposed to using a stylist. Emilia Petrarca, The Cut, "What If Jonah Hill Was One of Us?," 2 July 2018 Karthik, for his part, took no pleasure in vanquishing a familiar foe. Ben Nuckols, Fox News, "Dallas duel: Wild card turns tables at National Spelling Bee," 1 June 2018 And Villanelle, one of the most delightful TV baddies in recent memory, takes gruesome pleasure in toying with the agent on her tail. Daniel D'addario, Time, "Best TV Shows of 2018 So Far," 30 May 2018 Denis, as many people told me, takes real pleasure from the world. Alice Gregory, The New Yorker, "The Fearless Cinema of Claire Denis," 19 May 2018 For now McCain and his wife reportedly take pleasure in spending time on the deck of their ranch, reports the New York Times. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "John McCain's Wife, Cindy, Has Quietly Amassed a $200 Million Fortune Built on a Beer Dynasty," 7 May 2018 The real question, at least for me, is how, as a fan or chronicler, to reconcile that disturbing knowledge with the primordial pleasure that such hits arouse within us. Larry Stone, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor’s departure elicits feelings of admiration, guilt," 3 July 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.

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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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Statistics for pleasure

Last Updated

28 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pleasure

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

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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?

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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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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