a person who jollies, especially a person who uses teasing flattery in order to gain a desired aim.

Origin of jollier

An Americanism dating back to 1895–1900; jolly + -er1



adjective, jol·li·er, jol·li·est.

in good spirits; lively; merry: In a moment he was as jolly as ever.
cheerfully festive or convivial: a jolly party.
joyous; happy: Christmas is a jolly season.
Chiefly British Informal. delightful; charming.
  1. Informal.great; thorough: a jolly blunderer.
  2. Slang.slightly drunk; tipsy.

verb (used with object), jol·lied, jol·ly·ing.

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.

Informal. to jolly a person; josh; kid.

noun, plural jol·lies.

Informal. the practice or an instance of jollying a person.
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.


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 for jolly

Antonyms for jolly Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jollier

Historical Examples of jollier

  • It's a jollier walk, and the blackberries are bigger and better.

  • But that only made it all the jollier in the warm, bright rooms, full of happy souls.

    Eight Cousins

    Louisa M. Alcott

  • She's all very well, but it's jollier when we're alone, Luce.

    A Sheaf of Corn

    Mary E. Mann

  • He thought he had never seen a jollier animal of the human tribe than that.

    The Pools of Silence

    H. de Vere Stacpoole

  • There was no jollier, dustier, busier, happier miller in all the land than he.

British Dictionary definitions for jollier


adjective -lier or -liest

full of good humour; jovial
having or provoking gaiety and merrymaking; festive
greatly enjoyable; pleasing


British (intensifier)you're jolly nice

verb -lies, -lying or -lied (tr) informal

(often foll by up or along) to try to make or keep (someone) cheerful
to make goodnatured fun of


informal, mainly British a festivity or celebration
informal, mainly British a trip, esp one made for pleasure by a public official or committee at public expense
British slang a Royal Marine
Derived Formsjolliness, noun

Word Origin for jolly

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 jollier



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