- 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.
- Informal.great; thorough: a jolly blunderer.
- Slang.slightly drunk; tipsy.
- 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.
- Informal. to jolly a person; josh; kid.
- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for jolly on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for jolly
The incident sparked his belief in Santa, but he would have to wait nearly two decades before dressing up as Jolly St. Nick.Kerry Bentivolio: The Congressman Who Believes in Santa Claus
December 24, 2014
Like Jolly, most of the women raced other motorized vehicles before making it into Monster Jam.
Jolly somehow finds the time to also manage a restaurant and help kids who have Autism and Down syndrome ride horses.
Jolly, who entered the racing world when she was eight years old, remembers being taunted as a kid.
Jolly and Creten, who are both married to Monster Jam drivers (Neil Elliott and Jimmy Creten, respectively), have kids.
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.Life and Death of Harriett Frean
A friend and a tent, a jug of whisky and a lot of jolly good tobacco.In the Midst of Alarms
We were a jolly set; most of us poor as church mice, and caring little.The Bacillus of Beauty
- full of good humour; jovial
- having or provoking gaiety and merrymaking; festive
- greatly enjoyable; pleasing
- British (intensifier)you're jolly nice
- (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
Word Origin and History for jolly
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.