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.
late 14c., from mirth + -less. Related: Mirthlessly.
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.