1. the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation: She felt the joy of seeing her son’s success.
  2. a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated: Her prose style is a pure joy.
  3. the expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety.
  4. a state of happiness or felicity.

verb (used without object)

  1. to feel joy; be glad; rejoice.

verb (used with object)

  1. Obsolete. to gladden.


  1. a deep feeling or condition of happiness or contentment
  2. something causing such a feeling; a source of happiness
  3. an outward show of pleasure or delight; rejoicing
  4. British informal success; satisfactionI went to the bank for a loan, but got no joy


  1. (intr) to feel joy
  2. (tr) obsolete to make joyful; gladden

c.1200, “feeling of pleasure and delight;” c.1300, “source of pleasure or happiness,” from Old French joie (11c.), from Latin gaudia, plural of gaudium “joy,” from gaudere “rejoice,” from PIE root *gau- “to rejoice” (cf. Greek gaio “I rejoice,” Middle Irish guaire “noble”). Joy-riding is American English, 1908.

see burst with (joy); pride and joy.

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