10 Merry Words for Happiness


Defined as pleasure derived from attaining what you consider to be good, the term happiness comes from the Old Norse root happ, which literally means “chance” or “good luck.” The noun happiness entered English in the 16th century, though the adjective happy predates this noun by 200 years.


Mirth is jollity, especially when accompanied by laughter. From Germanic origin, mirth shares a root with the word merry. It's been around since the time Old English was spoken.


Joy is the emotion of great delight caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. This termed entered English way back in the 1200s from the Old French joie.


Bliss is supreme happiness, often associated with the joy of heaven. It comes from the Old English blis and is related to the terms bless and blithe.


Elation is a feeling of great joy or pride, or of exultant gladness. In Middle English elat means “proud.” Elation ultimately comes from Latin, by way of Old French.


Glee is open delight or pleasure. This term has had musical associations since around 1000 when the noun glee could be used to refer to entertainment of the harmonious variety. The meaning of delight came about 100 years later. By the 17th century, glee was considered obsolete or comic by various dictionary editors, only to reemerge in common usage in the late 18th century.


Exultation is lively or triumphant joy, generally over success or victory. It comes from the Latin exultationem and has been used in English since the 1400s.


Euphoria is a state of intense happiness and self-confidence. The term is sometimes used in pathology to describe the state of patients. This term has existed in English since the late 1600s and comes from the Greek euphoria meaning “a state of well-being.”


Jubilation is a feeling or loud expression of joy, or a festive celebration. This term entered English in the late 1300s from the Latin meaning “shouting for joy.” It has since been immortalized in Simon and Garfunkel’s song “Cecilia”: “Jubilation! She loves me again; I fall on the floor and I’m laughing.”


Rapture is ecstatic delight or joyful ecstasy. It comes from the Latin raptura meaning “abduction,” “carrying away” and “rape.” In Middle French rapture means "abduction." This term can also refer to the carrying of a person to another sphere of existence. In Christian theology, the Rapture will happen when Christ returns to earth.

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