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Attested from the 13th century, from Middle English delite, from Old French deleiter, deliter, from Latin delectare (to delight, please), frequentative of delicere (to allure, entice), from de- (away) + laciō (I lure, I deceive), from Proto-Italic *lakjō (to draw, pull), of unknown ultimate origin. Related with delectation, delicate, delicious and dilettante. The modern unetymological spelling (instead of expected delite) is influenced by light and other words in -ight, such as might, bright, etc. The -gh- may also be an attempt to represent the Latin -c-; compare obsolete indight for indict.


  • IPA(key): /dəˈlaɪt/, /dɪˈlaɪt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪt


delight (countable and uncountable, plural delights)

  1. Joy; pleasure.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Proverbs 18:2:
      A fool hath no delight in understanding.
    • 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
      [] the isle is full of noises,
      Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
    • 1967, Barbara Sleigh, Jessamy, Sevenoaks, Kent: Bloomsbury, published 1993, →ISBN, page 122:
      At any other time Jessamy would have laughed at the expressions that chased each other over his freckled face: crossness left over from his struggle with the baby; incredulity; distress; and finally delight.
    • 2013 June 8, “The new masters and commanders”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8839, page 52:
      From the ground, Colombo’s port does not look like much. Those entering it are greeted by wire fences, walls dating back to colonial times and security posts. For mariners leaving the port after lonely nights on the high seas, the delights of the B52 Night Club and Stallion Pub lie a stumble away.
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:delight.
  2. Something that gives great joy or pleasure.
    • 1580, Greensleeves:
      Greensleeves was all my joy / Greensleeves was my delight, []
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book V”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 17-19:
      [] Awake
      My fairest, my espous’d, my latest found,
      Heav’ns last best gift, my ever new delight,
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:delight.

Derived terms[edit]



delight (third-person singular simple present delights, present participle delighting, simple past and past participle delighted)

  1. To give delight to; to affect with great pleasure; to please highly.
    A beautiful landscape delights the eye.
  2. (intransitive) To have or take great pleasure.
    • c. 1515–1516, published 1568, John Skelton, Againſt venemous tongues enpoyſoned with ſclaunder and falſe detractions &c.:
      A ſclaunderous tunge, a tunge of a ſkolde,
      Worketh more miſchiefe than can be tolde;
      That, if I wiſt not to be controlde,
      Yet ſomwhat to ſay I dare well be bolde,
      How ſome delite for to lye, thycke and threfolde.
    • 1580, Greensleeves:
      For I have loved you well and long, / Delighting in your company.
    • 1908, T.J. Griffths, The Cambrian, volume 28, page 504:
      He was an eisteddfodwr and delighted to hear good singing, whether it was in the sanctuary or at the eisteddfodic gatherings.

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