Definition of merry in US English:


adjectivemerriest, merrier

  • 1Cheerful and lively.

    ‘the narrow streets were dense with merry throngs of students’
    ‘a merry grin’
    • ‘Still, we carry on cheerfully, whistling a merry tune as we stir it all up with a wooden spoon.’
    • ‘Showing or characterized by exuberance or mirthful excitement; merry; cheerful; jolly.’
    • ‘Lillie gives a merry laugh, and slaps him lightly.’
    • ‘As usual making fun of myself so everyone can laugh and be merry.’
    • ‘Dad had spotted me and my cheese snacks, and waved me over with a disgustingly merry grin on his face.’
    • ‘Jahson clapped his hands with glee and danced a merry jig while Pablo grinned wolfishly.’
    • ‘Just then a man stepped up ten yards away from them, his expression was merry and bright, on his face blood was trickling, he had on a fancy red coat, decorated from head to toe.’
    • ‘Within seconds, the three of us are chugging away at the front of the balcony, clinking glasses and bottles with the merry throng around us.’
    • ‘The girls were all merry and cheerful, walking through the regiments to spread encouragement and cheer to the men gathered there.’
    • ‘And off we strolled, whistling merry Christmas tunes, and with only the very slightest of hops, skips and jumps in our step.’
    • ‘His poetry had a chaste reserve that reflected his Englishness, but off the page he was a merry wit who laughed loudly, told raunchy jokes and felt more at home in a leather bar than a stuffy literary function.’
    • ‘A local band played on a raised pedestal and people of all species were dancing together in time with the lively beat in a merry atmosphere.’
    • ‘Her soprano lullabies and fun character allowed the audience to laugh and be merry.’
    • ‘These ‘sandboys’ were paid partly in ale, and were usually half-cut or merry: hence ‘happy’.’
    • ‘So, have fun eating, drinking and being merry whether it's by a roaring fire or a slightly less picturesque roaring radiator.’
    • ‘The eldest of the Ellertson girls were slightly younger than Clara, and were as merry and cheerful as their brother.’
    • ‘And I laughed and guffawed at the irony of it, and even Verge did let forth a merry mirth-filled giggle.’
    • ‘Will motioned to him from a corner table where he was playing cards with a short gnome; Alexander began wading through the throng of merry patrons to reach him.’
    • ‘The night was not lonely either, as quite a few regulars danced cheerfully to merry tunes in the moonlight.’
    • ‘She pointed out that sensible young men noticed what a few years of married life could do to the once happy, merry girl he knew.’
    • ‘Her pleasant smile, the glint in the eye and genuine sense of fun and devilment made her very popular and you were always assured of a good laugh and a merry time when she was around the place.’
    • ‘This link has phrases saying merry Christmas and happy new year in many, many, many languages (including Maori, Welsh and Cree).’
    cheerful, cheery, in good spirits, high-spirited, blithe, bright, sunny, light-hearted, buoyant, bubbly, lively, carefree, without a care in the world, joyful, joyous, rejoicing, jolly, jocund, convivial, festive, mirthful, gleeful, happy, glad, laughing
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of an occasion or season) characterized by festivity and rejoicing.
      ‘he wished me a merry Christmas’
      • ‘Why not make Election Eve as merry and festive as Christmas Eve?’
      • ‘Bright and attractive colours were used to create a merry festival atmosphere.’
      • ‘And finally as it is the festive season, a very merry Christmas to everyone from all at Headfirst Productions.’
      • ‘Pixies run on his limbs and they arrange merry feasts in his honour.’
      • ‘It is, after all, the season to be merry and this will certainly put the required grin on your face.’
      • ‘But there's a distinctly conifer shaped fly in this otherwise merry festive ointment - with the row over the re-positioning of the Christmas tree.’
      • ‘I believe I'll just go along with BiaS and ignore this merry event.’
      • ‘Chris Birdsall, hospital spokesman, said it is important patients get to celebrate the merry season.’
      • ‘The Finale is also merry and joyous in keeping with the whole spirit of the work.’
      • ‘I'd placed the order before the merry events of the last few weeks, so I was a bit surprised to come home one day and find 50 bags piled in the backyard.’
      • ‘A slice of fried or steamed fish fairly salivates at the prospect of a merry meeting.’
      • ‘A trip to the hairdressers has become a merry experience for a group of Harrogate ladies after their local salon became one of the first in Britain to be granted a liquor licence.’
      • ‘E-card sites flaunt the day tempting the browsers to send wishes across to their pals for a merry season blooming with happiness.’
      • ‘Every popular hangout for young folks has planned a merry event to mark the festivities, and on the menu are foods and beverages from many lands.’
      • ‘In any case I hope you have a very merry season, and the best of everything n the New Year.’
      • ‘With the merry season fast approaching people are warned that more than two thirds of the region's young singletons say smoking drastically reduces sexual attractiveness.’
      • ‘Irish festivals have become a custom down through the years and this summers festival merry go round has already begun with one not left short of events to attend in the coming months.’
      • ‘Jerome, muttering and dripping thick mud and rainwater, brought up the rear of this merry parade.’
      • ‘The fire crackled and, beside it, rum punch simmered with promise of a merry Occasion.’
      • ‘And we wish you the best of the season and merry Christmas.’
      festive, celebratory, joyous, joyful
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2informal Slightly and good-humoredly drunk.
      ‘after the third bottle of beer he began to feel quite merry’
      • ‘They returned home at 10.45 pm "quite merry" and went to bed about half an hour later, he said.’
      • ‘In the event, the meal was fine and, by the end, I was feeling slightly merry, and my companions were at last sobering up.’
      • ‘His recollection is you had been to some sort of do in the afternoon or early evening, and you were quite merry.’
      • ‘"Terry was quite merry. He wasn't staggering but he was in quite a good mood," she said.’
      • ‘More than half of them were merry with alcohol at that point, and a lot drunker than people thought I was.’
      • ‘Everyone was getting quite merry, and the glasses were being passed about.’
      • ‘Even though I may have been slightly merry I still could not escape the feeling of how weird all this was.’
      • ‘Basically, after having no alcoholic drink supplies for the previous week, it was no wonder we were all quite merry on that occasion.’
      • ‘For example, here's a very merry guy who might just have a slight problem with alcohol.’
      • ‘Sitting on a bench with, as I soon discover, two slightly merry female postgraduate students who are, like me, waiting for a train on the Rayners Lane branch.’
      tipsy, mellow, slightly drunk
      View synonyms


  • go on one's merry way

    • informal Carry on with a course of action regardless of the consequences.

      • ‘So we went on our merry way, stopping at Bangkok City Hall, and a tiny temple with a lucky fat Buddha.’
      • ‘Then I can just manoeuvre over to my local neighbourhood crane, knock the bomb off, land up-right and go on my merry way.’
      • ‘Too shocked to complain, the pair went on their merry way.’
      • ‘I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and went on my merry way.’
      • ‘But I committed the cover to memory and went on my merry way.’
      • ‘At one point in the story, Cathy says: ‘It's hard to go on your merry way when your mistakes, the pain you've caused the people around you can't simply be erased.‘’
      • ‘He shook his shaggy blond head, gave me a ‘you're a nut’ look and went on his merry way.’
      • ‘He's the kind of guy who, when you moved his cheese, would take it in his stride and quietly go on his merry way.’
      • ‘I bought an iced latte and a yummy vanilla caramel stick thing at Starbucks, browsed the magazines (didn't find Cloth, Paper, Scissors mag) and went on my merry way.’
      • ‘I then paid for the postcards and went on my merry way to wait another two hours for my plane to leave.’
      • ‘I received a much more discreet dressing and went on my merry way.’
      • ‘You go down to the clinic, get a room, maybe flip through a magazine or watch a flick, perform your ‘duty,’ collect a check, and then go on your merry way.’
      • ‘I never heard from them after that: I just kind of went on my merry way with the tournament.’
      • ‘The new designs mostly just pay lip service to this notion and then go on their merry way.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the world's nasty types the greedy, the vicious, the self-serving, the nutters go on their merry way, as murderously unambiguous as ever.’
      • ‘I guess your expectation is that you get online, release your pent-up culpability and go on your merry way.’
      • ‘We just get on with it and he just goes on his merry way?’
      • ‘I would also end up in Cowra much too late, so I thought ‘nuts to you, lady’ and went on my merry way anyway.’
      • ‘So, in this episode, the crew simply tracks down the offending aliens, gives them the little foetus, and goes on their merry way, completely unaffected by the event.’
      • ‘If she's feeling a bit energetic, I can simply leave it dripping and go on my merry way.’
  • make merry

    • Enjoy oneself with others by dancing and drinking.

      • ‘They binge on Thai food, drink and make merry, take the sun and gleefully partake in Pattaya's rowdy nightlife.’
      • ‘By day, they gathered to denounce royal policy, while at night they expected to eat, drink, and make merry at the king's expense.’
      • ‘While as a Christian, I am supposed to mourn his death and get myself to church, instead I was at a reunion party indulging in food, drinks and basically making merry.’
      • ‘After all, there will be plenty of chances to eat, drink and make merry once he has retired.’
      • ‘Relatives, friends and well wishers join together to eat, drink, and make merry.’
      • ‘Each was crammed with small parties of people making merry and recounting long passed glory days.’
      • ‘They're both eager to drink, club and make merry in London while they can before returning to Tehran next week.’
      • ‘He enjoys life to the extreme; he drinks and makes merry with his wide circle of friends.’
      • ‘Currently, the rest of the unit were making merry in there rooms, enjoying the few hours each day they got off.’
      • ‘Now, we go to rest, drink, eat, and make merry to give us all a nice happy buzz to prevent any feelings of worry about tomorrow!’
      • ‘An excuse to shop until you drop, drink to excess and make merry.’
      • ‘Strange to feel so melancholy at such a joyous time, so many people celebrating, making merry, making love in the warm twilight of these shortest nights.’
      • ‘They made merry on Christmas, sometimes got drunk and became loud.’
      • ‘The topic ‘two dolphins making merry in sea, jumping in unison’, had made the children to permit their imagination run riot in rich colours.’
      • ‘The demon in me wants to say party and make merry.’
      • ‘Everyone made merry and most drank too much, including me!’
      • ‘I want to enjoy my existence on this earth, be happy and make merry.’
      • ‘We started off the evening at the house, drinking and making merry before we went out for the night.’
      • ‘She saw people feasting, dancing, and making merry, exactly as she expected.’
      • ‘After a day of eating, drinking and making merry, round off with some words of wisdom from our favourite family.’
      have fun, have a good time, enjoy oneself, have a party, party, celebrate, carouse, feast, eat, drink, and be merry, revel, roister, rejoice, go on a spree
      View synonyms
  • the more the merrier

    • The more people or things there are, the better or more enjoyable a situation will be.

      • ‘There is no one size that will fit all, I think the more the merrier frankly.’
      • ‘Second, when it comes to partying, the more the merrier.’
      • ‘All are welcome to the Autumn Social and the more the merrier.’
      • ‘I think liberals should say, look, the more the merrier.’
      • ‘‘It's difficult to operate with anything less than 10 or 12 so we are looking for eight or 10 new members this winter, but the more the merrier,’ he said.’
      • ‘But it is a case of the more the merrier for the swimmer who is confident he has a great hope of a medal in the 4x200m freestyle team event.’
      • ‘It's very much a matter of the more the merrier for a good cause.’
      • ‘Oh and spread the word, tell your friends - the more the merrier…!’
      • ‘All players who were aged under 18 on April 1 are more than welcome, this is your chance to represent your town, your league, please attend, the more the merrier.’
      • ‘But by the end of the day it was, like, the more the merrier.’
      • ‘Everyone is welcome to enter into this competition, the more the merrier!’
      • ‘All details appreciated and the more the merrier.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I would invite anyone who has an interest in getting fit and playing this exciting and easy to learn sport to come along the more the merrier!’’
      • ‘To me, especially after September 11, everything is everyone's business should they wish it - the more the merrier.’
      • ‘If you'd like to beat me to the punch, please go ahead - the more the merrier.’
      • ‘They should change their rules to allow women in because, the way I look at it, the more the merrier, especially as traditional club users are getting older.’
      • ‘For Allardyce it is a case of the more the merrier.’
      • ‘All past pupils are welcome to attend - in fact the more the merrier for what promises to be a very enjoyable event beginning at 1.30 pm.’
      • ‘It's raising money for Cancer Research and the Army Benevolent Fund so hopefully we will get a few there - the more the merrier!’
      • ‘Girls and boys can play and the more the merrier.’


Old English myrige ‘pleasing, delightful’, of Germanic origin; related to mirth.