- full of cheerfulness or gaiety; joyous in disposition or spirit: a merry little man.
- laughingly happy; mirthful; festively joyous; hilarious: a merry time at the party.
- Archaic. causing happiness; pleasant; delightful.
- make merry,
- to be happy or festive: The New Year's revelers were making merry in the ballroom.
- to make fun of; ridicule: The unthinking children made merry of the boy who had no shoes.
Origin of merry
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
- a female given name.
Examples from the Web for merry
Bohac said the bill does not require anyone to say “Merry Christmas” if they are not up for it.
Because we all grew up initially thinking it was “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen.”Yes, I Like Christmas Music. Stop Laughing.
December 24, 2014
But asked if he would say “Merry Christmas” to someone who he knew did not celebrate the holiday, he paused for several seconds.
Deck your halls instead with boughs of holly, shouting “Merry Christmas” (or “Happy Hanukkah”) well into the night.
In his last tweet, he wished his followers a “Merry Christmas.”Rand Paul Has a Few Festivus Grievances
December 23, 2014
His aunt, the Duchess of Savoy, is a merry dame, and a wise!The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
Now and then, he laughed in a merry way, as if he were bantering her out of something.To be Read at Dusk
Saffy came and went, by no means so merry now that she was more with Corney.
Christmas was a merry day to all but the major, who did not like the engagement any better than before.
He raised his flagon and drank to him, with a merry flash of his white teeth.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
- cheerful; jolly
- very funny; hilarious
- British informal slightly drunk
- archaic delightful
- make merry to revel; be festive
- play merry hell with informal to disturb greatly; disrupt
Word Origin and History for merry
Old English myrge "pleasing, agreeable, pleasant, sweet; pleasantly, melodiously," from Proto-Germanic *murgijaz, which probably originally meant "short-lasting," (cf. Old High German murg "short," Gothic gamaurgjan "to shorten"), from PIE *mreghu- "short" (see brief (adj.)). The only exact cognate for meaning outside English was Middle Dutch mergelijc "joyful."
Connection to "pleasure" is likely via notion of "making time fly, that which makes the time seem to pass quickly" (cf. German Kurzweil "pastime," literally "a short time;" Old Norse skemta "to amuse, entertain, amuse oneself," from skamt, neuter of skammr "short"). There also was a verbal form in Old English, myrgan "be merry, rejoice." For vowel evolution, see bury (v.).
Bot vchon enle we wolde were fyf, þe mo þe myryer. [c.1300]
The word had much wider senses in Middle English, e.g. "pleasant-sounding" (of animal voices), "fine" (of weather), "handsome" (of dress), "pleasant-tasting" (of herbs). Merry-bout "an incident of sexual intercourse" was low slang from 1780. Merry-begot "illegitimate" (adj.), "bastard" (n.) is from 1785. Merrie England (now frequently satirical or ironic) is 14c. meri ingland, originally in a broader sense of "bountiful, prosperous." Merry Monday was a 16c. term for "the Monday before Shrove Tuesday" (Mardi Gras).