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From Middle English jolyfte, from Old French joliveté (gaity, cheerfulness; amorous passion; life of pleasure), from jolif (see jolly).


jollity (countable and uncountable, plural jollities)

  1. (uncountable) The state of being jolly; cheerfulness.
    • 1841, Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop, ch. 18:
      The Jolly Sandboys was a small road-side inn of pretty ancient date, with a sign, representing three Sandboys increasing their jollity with as many jugs of ale and bags of gold.
    • 1891, Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, volume 1, London: James R. Osgood, McIlvaine and Co., page 36:
      The youngsters, not immediately within sight, seemed rather bright and desirable appurtenances than otherwise; the incidents of daily life were not without humorousness and jollity in their aspect there.
  2. (countable) Revelry or festivity; a merry or festive gathering.
    • 2006, Rupert Cornwell, "You'd think it was the Thirties all over again," Independent (UK), 4 Sept. (retrieved 21 Sept. 2009):
      Across the US, candidates traditionally attend rallies, barbecues and similar jollities in their states and districts.
  3. (countable) Things, remarks, or characteristics which are enjoyable.
    • 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, ch. 11:
      Add to this picture a jolly, crackling, rollicking fire, going rejoicingly up a great wide chimney,—the outer door and every window being set wide open, and the calico window-curtain flopping and snapping in a good stiff breeze of damp raw air,—and you have an idea of the jollities of a Kentucky tavern.