gaiety or jollity, especially when accompanied by laughter: the excitement and mirth of the holiday season.
amusement or laughter: He was unable to conceal his mirth.

Origin of mirth

before 900; Middle English mirthe, Old English myrgth. See merry, -th1
Related formsmirth·less, adjective

Synonyms for mirth

1, 2. Mirth, glee, hilarity, merriment, jollity, joviality refer to the gaiety characterizing people who are enjoying the companionship of others. Mirth suggests spontaneous amusement or gaiety, manifested briefly in laughter: uncontrolled outbursts of mirth. Glee suggests an effervescence of high spirits or exultation, often manifested in playful or ecstatic gestures; it may apply also to a malicious rejoicing over mishaps to others: glee over the failure of a rival. Hilarity implies noisy and boisterous mirth, often exceeding the limits of reason or propriety: hilarity aroused by practical jokes. Merriment suggests fun, good spirits, and good nature rather than the kind of wit and sometimes artificial funmaking that cause hilarity: The house resounded with music and sounds of merriment. Jollity and joviality may refer either to a general atmosphere of mirthful festivity or to the corresponding traits of individuals. Jollity implies an atmosphere of easy and convivial gaiety, a more hearty merriment or a less boisterous hilarity: The holiday was a time of jollity. Joviality implies a more mellow merriment generated by people who are hearty, generous, benevolent, and high-spirited: the joviality of warm-hearted friends.

Antonyms for mirth

1. gloom.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mirth

Contemporary Examples of mirth

Historical Examples of mirth

  • In vain the Woman Perfect struggled to subdue her mirth to penitence.

  • Chip made haste to stifle his mirth, in fear that she was going to cry.

  • Angelique interrupted him by laughing gaily, and he joined her in her mirth for a moment.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Among the desperate there is almost invariably a tendency to mirth.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • The two Ricardis laughed; but instantly restrained their mirth.

    Casanova's Homecoming

    Arthur Schnitzler

British Dictionary definitions for mirth



laughter, gaiety, or merriment
Derived Formsmirthful, adjectivemirthfully, adverbmirthfulness, nounmirthless, adjectivemirthlessly, adverbmirthlessness, noun

Word Origin for mirth

Old English myrgth; compare merry
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 mirth

Old English myrgð "joy, pleasure," from Proto-Germanic *murgitha (cf. Middle Dutch merchte), noun of quality from *murgjo- (see merry; also see -th (2)). Mirthquake "entertainment that excites convulsive laughter" first attested 1928, in reference to Harold Lloyd movies.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper