Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

jolly

[jol-ee]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
adjective, jol·li·er, jol·li·est.
  1. in good spirits; lively; merry: In a moment he was as jolly as ever.
  2. cheerfully festive or convivial: a jolly party.
  3. joyous; happy: Christmas is a jolly season.
  4. Chiefly British Informal. delightful; charming.
  5. British.
    1. Informal.great; thorough: a jolly blunderer.
    2. Slang.slightly drunk; tipsy.
verb (used with object), jol·lied, jol·ly·ing.
  1. Informal. to talk or act agreeably to (a person) in order to keep that person in good humor, especially in the hope of gaining something (usually followed by along): They jollied him along until the job was done.
verb (used without object), jol·lied, jol·ly·ing.
  1. Informal. to jolly a person; josh; kid.
noun, plural jol·lies.
  1. Informal. the practice or an instance of jollying a person.
  2. Usually jollies. Informal. pleasurable excitement, especially from or as if from something forbidden or improper; thrills; kicks: He gets his jollies from watching horror movies.
adverb
  1. British Informal. extremely; very: He'll jolly well do as he's told.

Origin of jolly

1275–1325; Middle English joli, jolif < Old French, equivalent to jol- (probably < Old Norse jōl yule) + -if -ive
Related formsjol·li·ly, adverbjol·li·ness, nounun·jol·ly, adjective

Synonyms

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1–3. glad, spirited, jovial, sportive, playful.

Antonyms

1–3. gloomy, melancholy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for jolly

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And yet there ought to be so much to do here; it's all so fresh and roomy and jolly.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "I suppose I've jolly well got to take it," said Banstead, unruffled.

    Viviette

    William J. Locke

  • It's a jolly sight better than sentiment when it comes to marrying.

  • A friend and a tent, a jug of whisky and a lot of jolly good tobacco.

  • We were a jolly set; most of us poor as church mice, and caring little.


British Dictionary definitions for jolly

jolly

adjective -lier or -liest
  1. full of good humour; jovial
  2. having or provoking gaiety and merrymaking; festive
  3. greatly enjoyable; pleasing
adverb
  1. British (intensifier)you're jolly nice
verb -lies, -lying or -lied (tr) informal
  1. (often foll by up or along) to try to make or keep (someone) cheerful
  2. to make goodnatured fun of
noun
  1. informal, mainly British a festivity or celebration
  2. informal, mainly British a trip, esp one made for pleasure by a public official or committee at public expense
  3. British slang a Royal Marine
Derived Formsjolliness, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Old French jolif, probably from Old Norse jōl yule
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for jolly

adj.

c.1300 (late 13c. as a surname), from Old French jolif "festive, merry, amorous, pretty" (12c.) of uncertain origin (cf. Italian giulivo "merry, pleasant").

Perhaps a Germanic loan-word from a source akin to Old Norse jol "a winter feast" (see yule), or from Latin gaudere "to rejoice," from PIE *gau- "to rejoice" (see joy). For loss of -f, cf. tardy, hasty. Related: Jollily; jolliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper