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From pleasant +‎ -ry, probably modelled on Middle French plaisanterie.[1]


  • IPA(key): /ˈplɛzəntɹi/
  • Hyphenation: pleas‧ant‧ry


pleasantry (countable and uncountable, plural pleasantries)

  1. (sometimes proscribed) A casual, courteous remark.
  2. A playful remark; a jest.
    • 2014 November 18, Daniel Taylor, The Guardian[1]:
      Charlie Mulgrew could easily have been shown two yellow cards by a stricter referee and amid all the usual Anglo-Scottish pleasantries, the two sets of fans put an awful lot of effort into trying to drown out one another’s national anthems.
  3. (dated) Anything that promotes pleasure or merriment.

Usage notes[edit]

The word originally meant a joke or witticism. It is now generally used to mean only polite conversation in general (as in the phrase "exchange of pleasantries"), which is sometimes proscribed.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ pleasantry, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, launched 2000.