Definition of jollity in English:



  • 1Lively and cheerful activity or celebration.

    ‘a night of riotous jollity’
    • ‘Is the EIF by definition a festival exclusively for high-minded pursuits where jollity has no place?’
    • ‘Although Rowan and Stephen joined in with the jollity of the occasion, grumpy Phil didn't really socialise.’
    • ‘He told me he'd been on a film with an ill-behaved star who - to lighten the mood, or in a transport of jollity - took to dancing, in combat boots, on the roof of the propmaster's brand-new Mercedes.’
    • ‘Not that I'm denigrating the effort - I'm good for a few quid once I've got a few beers in me later tonight - but the enforced jollity does occasionally grate.’
    • ‘I timed the auction to end on the evening of Christmas Day, reckoning to catch those folks who will by then have retired to their computer to get away from the festivities and the family jollity.’
    • ‘All have that characteristic Milhaud lightness and playfulness, that jollity and occasional raucousness.’
    • ‘Having written the song for her, Almond also performs guest vocals with Sally Timms on this single, in a rare show of light-hearted knockabout jollity.’
    • ‘The grand euro-persuasion campaign, complete with unspecified roadshows and jollities no doubt such as further Blair / Brown double-acts, could now begin.’
    • ‘The tone of the card is often one of jollity and fun with the sender trying to excuse their laziness with witty remarks and the message that instead of sending cards, they'll be donating the money to charity.’
    • ‘Kate Winslet, the emphatically English rose of British cinema, is a trouper, a ruddy good sport, a thumping great head prefect of common sense and hockey-sticks jollity.’
    • ‘Pearl was just a great, echoing, empty marble hall with a menu, which was the sort of list you might expect to be offered at Peter Mandelson's wake, but without that general sense of high-spirited glee and jollity.’
    • ‘Anyone with fond memories of fluke jollities such as National Express and Something for the Weekend will be flummoxed by Absent Friends's Jacques Brelian melodrama.’
    • ‘What's more, Manager Thomas Kuwatsch has declared that those who don't measure up to the prescribed level of jollity in the morning should stay at home until they cheer up, Ananova reports.’
    • ‘All the season's jollity exacerbates feelings of loneliness, but Mr McEwan will tuck into his Christmas Day lunch knowing he has many friends - the best gift of all.’
    • ‘Christmas long ago ceased to be an occasion for carefree jollity.’
    • ‘Looking at her in surprise, he laughed and for a while, both of them beamed at each other, chortling with jollity, seeming like the carefree children they once were.’
    • ‘Not that a Brown premiership would be a thing of great mirth and jollity, even though marriage and fatherhood have certainly mellowed the Chancellor.’
    • ‘The songs they sang were traditional and tied in with pre-Victorian mid-winter celebrations where the Lord of Misrule presided over jollities which were rather wild at heart.’
    • ‘Whether you're the warm and fuzzy sort or you're like me, and find enforced jollity a serious downer, it's hard to avoid contemplating hearth and home and the ghosts of Christmas past at this time of year.’
    • ‘Time has been kind to this most English of bands, their jollity is as lively as ever, their humour hasn't faded and their charm is as infectious as ever.’
    high spirits, high-spiritedness, exuberance
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The quality of being cheerful.
      ‘he was full of false jollity’
      • ‘Their recreation has none of the free-form jollity that characterises the folk tradition.’
      • ‘What is so effective about the film is the disarming jollity with which it knocks over the genre.’
      • ‘Organisers have received an email from Germany, whose people are renowned for its sense of humour, revealing the international face of the jollity jamboree.’
      • ‘The younger brother of the Battleship Potemkin has found a small round in his aging revolutionary magazine and fired it off with great jollity.’
      • ‘So in a few minutes I'm heading into town to send belated birthday presents and to try and convince myself to think about Christmas with appropriate jollity and generosity.’
      • ‘Their buoyant philosophy has been described as "pleasure without intemperance, hospitality without rudeness and jollity without coarseness."’
      • ‘In the animated chatter, the cracker-pulling and the jollity of a large party, people pay little attention to what's in their glasses.’
      • ‘The falser the jollity, the more merciless the banter.’
      • ‘In 1762, he described Christmas as "The day of greatest mirth and jollity."’
      • ‘But his contrived jollity is driving me up the wall.’
      • ‘It contains not one moment of jollity, humour, or that respect for the audience that had paid for their inclusion.’
      • ‘Part of the problem is the decision to make The Man with Red Eyes a jocular sort of villain; instead of becoming more sinister in his false jollity, however, he becomes less so.’
      • ‘He put so much dark jollity in them that they may continue spreading his Christmas spirit for generations.’
      • ‘Doesn't the false jollity on offer simply make you want to retch?’
      • ‘Even though the outing was begun and carried out with high spirits and a fair amount of jollity, we were both of us very glad indeed to tumble back into the car, turn the heater up full, and drive home as fast as we could.’


Middle English: from Old French jolite, from joli (see jolly).