From Middle English joli, jolif (“merry, cheerful”), from Old French joli, jolif (“merry, joyful”) It is uncertain whether the Old French word is from Old Norse jól ("a midwinter feast, Yule", hence "fest-ive") , in which case, equivalent to yule + -ive, compare Dutch jolig (“happy, festive, frolicsome, jolly”); or ultimately from Latin gaudeō (see etymology at joy). For the loss of final -f compare tardy, hasty, hussy, etc.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈd͡ʒɒli/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈd͡ʒɑli/
Audio (AU) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɒli
- Hyphenation: jol‧ly
- Full of merriment and high spirits; jovial; joyous; merry.
- 1815, William Wordsworth, "Hart-Leap Well," Part Second:
- "A jolly place," said he, "in times of old! / But something ails it now: the spot is curst. ..."
- 1819, Washington Irving, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., "The Stage Coach":
- […] he is swelled into jolly dimensions by frequent potations of malt liquors […]
- (colloquial, dated) Splendid, excellent, pleasant.
- (informal) drunk
jolly (plural jollies)
- (Britain, dated) A pleasure trip or excursion.
- (slang, dated) A marine in the English navy.
- Synonym: joey
- (Britain, dated) very, extremely
- it’s jolly hot in here, isn’t it?
- 1991, Stephen Fry, chapter III, in The Liar, London: William Heinemann, →ISBN, page 26:
- Adrian thought it worth while to try out his new slang. ‘I say, you fellows, here's a rum go. Old Biffo was jolly odd this morning. He gave me a lot of pi-jaw about slacking and then invited me to tea. No rotting! He did really.’
- Jolly in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 15, p. 495.
jolly m (invariable)
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