Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Jolly



From Middle English joli, jolif (merry, cheerful), from Old French joli, jolif (merry, joyful)[1] It is uncertain whether the Old French word is from Old Norse jól ("a midwinter feast, Yule", hence "fest-ive") [2], in which case, equivalent to yule +‎ -ive, compare Dutch jolig (happy, festive, frolicsome, jolly); or ultimately from Latin gaudeō (see etymology at joy). For the loss of final -f compare tardy, hasty, hussy, etc.



jolly (comparative jollier, superlative jolliest)

  1. Full of merriment and high spirits; jovial; joyous; merry.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book I, Canto II”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC:
      "Full jolly Knight he seemed [] full large of limb and every joint / He was, and cared not for God or man a point."
    • 1815, William Wordsworth, "Hart-Leap Well," Part Second:
      "A jolly place," said he, "in times of old! / But something ails it now: the spot is curst. ..."
    • 1819, Washington Irving, “The Stage Coach”, in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.:
      [] he is swelled into jolly dimensions by frequent potations of malt liquors []
  2. (colloquial, dated) Splendid, excellent, pleasant.
  3. (informal) drunk



jolly (plural jollies)

  1. (UK, dated, often humorous) A pleasure trip or excursion.
  2. (slang, dated) A marine in the English navy.
    Synonym: joey


jolly (comparative more jolly, superlative most jolly)

  1. (Britain, dated) very, extremely
    it’s jolly hot in here, isn’t it?
    • 1991, Stephen Fry, chapter III, in The Liar, London: William Heinemann, →ISBN, page 26:
      Adrian thought it worth while to try out his new slang. ‘I say, you fellows, here's a rum go. Old Biffo was jolly odd this morning. He gave me a lot of pi-jaw about slacking and then invited me to tea. No rotting! He did really.’


jolly (third-person singular simple present jollies, present participle jollying, simple past and past participle jollied)

  1. (transitive) To amuse or divert.


Derived terms[edit]

terms derived from all parts of speech


  • Jolly in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 15, p. 495.



Borrowed from English jolly joker, an older name for the joker card in a deck of cards.



jolly m (invariable)

  1. (card games) joker
  2. wild card

See also[edit]

Playing cards in Italian · carte da gioco (layout · text)
asso due tre quattro cinque sei sette
otto nove dieci fante donna,
re jolly, joker,