Word of the Day: Jolly


jol-ly / jŏl


1.  merry; full of good spirits

The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.

George Carlin, 1937 – 2008

2. exhibiting or causing a feeling of good cheer; festive

Have a holly, jolly Christmas;

And when you walk down the street

Say Hello to friends you know

and everyone you meet

Lyrics from “A Holly Jolly Christmas” by Johnny Marks, 1909 – 1985

3. very enjoyable

I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. 

Robert Baden-Powell, 1857 – 1941


1. (primarily British) very; extremely

Oh, for a nook and a story-book,

With tales both new and old;

For a jolly good book whereon to look

Is better to me than gold.

“A Jolly Good Book” poem, unknown


1. (primarily British) a celebration; a good time

Bragging about skiving off work to go on a jolly or making a joke out of being late for work for the third time in a week doesn’t really scream star employee! 

Sophie Deering, “The 10 Worst Things to Post on Social Media as a Job Seeker”, ‘Undercover Recruiter’, www.theundercoverrecruiter.com/worst-job-seeker-social-media, accessed December 10, 2021

2. jollies, (slang) a feeling of enjoyment and excitement

We all get our jollies one way or another.

“The Man with the Golden Gun Quotes.” Quotes.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 9 Dec. 2021.


1. to keep someone cheerful and in good spirits, often for one’s own purposes

We must be careful that our worship doesn’t become about jollying us up, or making us feel better – that isn’t real, and misses the point of who it’s for.


2. to tease or banter in a good-natured way

Now. stop Jollying us and tell us what you did really see—please,” he begged.

Oxford Democrat. [volume] (Paris, Me.), 04 Feb. 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83009653/1908-02-04/ed-1/seq-1/


From the Old French adjective jolif (festive, merry, pretty), which may be related to the Old Norse noun jol (winter feast), or it might come from the same root , gau, as the semi-deponent Latin verb gaudeo. gaudere, gauisus sum (rejoice, be glad, be pleased, delight, please).

Thank you to Allen Ward for the etymology of jolly.