[ joo-buh-lee, joo-buh-lee ]
/ ˈdʒu bəˌli, ˌdʒu bəˈli /
Save This Word!

flambé (def. 1): We had cherries jubilee for dessert.
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of jubilee

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English iubile, iubilee, from Middle French jubilé, from Late Latin jūbilaeus, from Greek iōbēlaîos (with ō and ē becoming u and i by assimilation to Latin jūbilāre “to shout for joy”), from Hebrew yōbhēl “ram, ram's horn, ram's horn used as a trumpet, trumpet, jubilee”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a jubilee?

A jubilee is a particular anniversary of a special occasion or the celebration of such an anniversary.

In particular, the word jubilee is often used to refer to celebrations that mark the anniversary of the coronation of a monarch. The word is often used in tandem with special terms that indicate the length of the reign.

Certain jubilees are referred to with specific names to indicate a particular anniversary. For example:

  • silver jubilee: 25th anniversary
  • golden jubilee: 50th anniversary
  • diamond jubilee: 60th anniversary (or 75th anniversary)
  • platinum jubilee: 70th anniversary

(These modifiers are often applied to the word anniversary as well, as in silver anniversary and platinum anniversary.)

In 2022, a platinum jubilee was planned for Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in anticipation of the 70th anniversary of her coronation (making her the first British monarch in history to reign long enough to celebrate a platinum jubilee).

Example: Rulers from around the world attended the Queen’s jubilee.

The word jubilee is used in more specific ways in the contexts of Roman Catholicism and Judaism to refer to certain periodic religious occasions.

More generally, the word jubilee can refer to any joyous celebration or time of rejoicing.

This general sense is the basis for the more specific use of the word jubilee to refer to a Black American folk song concerned with future happiness or deliverance from tribulation.

Where does jubilee come from?

The first records of the word jubilee in English come from the 1300s. Jubilee ultimately comes from the Hebrew word yōbhēl, referring to a ram’s horn that was used as a trumpet. This instrument, called a shofar, was used to mark Jewish religious occasions, including the one observed every 50 years and known as the Year of Jubilee.

The spelling of jubilee was influenced by the Latin verb jūbilāre, meaning “to shout for joy.”

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for jubilee?

What are some words that share a root or word element with jubilee?

What are some words that often get used in discussing jubilee?

How is jubilee used in real life?

The word jubilee is used in the context of anniversaries and the celebrations of them, especially those that mark a monarch’s reign.

Try using jubilee!

Which anniversary is marked by a platinum jubilee?

A. 25th
B. 50th
C. 70th
D. 75th

How to use jubilee in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for jubilee

/ (ˈdʒuːbɪˌliː, ˌdʒuːbɪˈliː) /

a time or season for rejoicing
a special anniversary, esp a 25th or 50th one
RC Church a specially appointed period, now ordinarily every 25th year, in which special indulgences are granted
Old Testament a year that was to be observed every 50th year, during which Hebrew slaves were to be liberated, alienated property was to be restored, etc
a less common word for jubilation

Word Origin for jubilee

C14: from Old French jubile, from Late Latin jubilaeus, from Late Greek iōbēlaios, from Hebrew yōbhēl ram's horn, used for the proclamation of the year of jubilee; influenced by Latin jūbilāre to shout for joy
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