Definition of merry in US English:



  • 1Cheerful and lively.

    ‘the narrow streets were dense with merry throngs of students’
    ‘a merry grin’
    • ‘The eldest of the Ellertson girls were slightly younger than Clara, and were as merry and cheerful as their brother.’
    • ‘As usual making fun of myself so everyone can laugh and be merry.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Showing or characterized by exuberance or mirthful excitement; merry; cheerful; jolly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Jahson clapped his hands with glee and danced a merry jig while Pablo grinned wolfishly.’
    • ‘Dad had spotted me and my cheese snacks, and waved me over with a disgustingly merry grin on his face.’
    • ‘And off we strolled, whistling merry Christmas tunes, and with only the very slightest of hops, skips and jumps in our step.’
    • ‘So, have fun eating, drinking and being merry whether it's by a roaring fire or a slightly less picturesque roaring radiator.’
    • ‘The girls were all merry and cheerful, walking through the regiments to spread encouragement and cheer to the men gathered there.’
    • ‘The night was not lonely either, as quite a few regulars danced cheerfully to merry tunes in the moonlight.’
    • ‘These ‘sandboys’ were paid partly in ale, and were usually half-cut or merry: hence ‘happy’.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘Still, we carry on cheerfully, whistling a merry tune as we stir it all up with a wooden spoon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Lillie gives a merry laugh, and slaps him lightly.’
    • ‘Her soprano lullabies and fun character allowed the audience to laugh and be merry.’
    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
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    1. 1.1 (of an occasion or season) characterized by festivity and rejoicing.
      ‘he wished me a merry Christmas’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I believe I'll just go along with BiaS and ignore this merry event.’
      • ‘The fire crackled and, beside it, rum punch simmered with promise of a merry Occasion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Finale is also merry and joyous in keeping with the whole spirit of the work.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Chris Birdsall, hospital spokesman, said it is important patients get to celebrate the merry season.’
      • ‘It is, after all, the season to be merry and this will certainly put the required grin on your face.’
      • ‘And finally as it is the festive season, a very merry Christmas to everyone from all at Headfirst Productions.’
      • ‘Why not make Election Eve as merry and festive as Christmas Eve?’
      • ‘Jerome, muttering and dripping thick mud and rainwater, brought up the rear of this merry parade.’
      • ‘Pixies run on his limbs and they arrange merry feasts in his honour.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Bright and attractive colours were used to create a merry festival atmosphere.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘And we wish you the best of the season and merry Christmas.’
      • ‘E-card sites flaunt the day tempting the browsers to send wishes across to their pals for a merry season blooming with happiness.’
      • ‘In any case I hope you have a very merry season, and the best of everything n the New Year.’
      • ‘A slice of fried or steamed fish fairly salivates at the prospect of a merry meeting.’
      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’
      • ‘Even though I may have been slightly merry I still could not escape the feeling of how weird all this was.’
      • ‘His recollection is you had been to some sort of do in the afternoon or early evening, and you were quite merry.’
      • ‘Basically, after having no alcoholic drink supplies for the previous week, it was no wonder we were all quite merry on that occasion.’
      • ‘More than half of them were merry with alcohol at that point, and a lot drunker than people thought I was.’
      • ‘"Terry was quite merry. He wasn't staggering but he was in quite a good mood," she said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For example, here's a very merry guy who might just have a slight problem with alcohol.’
      • ‘Everyone was getting quite merry, and the glasses were being passed about.’
      tipsy, mellow, slightly drunk
      View synonyms


  • go on one's merry way

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

      • ‘We just get on with it and he just goes on his merry way?’
      • ‘But I committed the cover to memory and went on my 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.’
      • ‘He shook his shaggy blond head, gave me a ‘you're a nut’ look and went on his merry way.’
      • ‘I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and went on my merry way.’
      • ‘So we went on our merry way, stopping at Bangkok City Hall, and a tiny temple with a lucky fat Buddha.’
      • ‘I never heard from them after that: I just kind of went on my merry way with the tournament.’
      • ‘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.‘’
      • ‘If she's feeling a bit energetic, I can simply leave it dripping and go on my merry way.’
      • ‘The new designs mostly just pay lip service to this notion and then go on their merry way.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then I can just manoeuvre over to my local neighbourhood crane, knock the bomb off, land up-right and go on my merry way.’
      • ‘I received a much more discreet dressing 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 guess your expectation is that you get online, release your pent-up culpability and go on your 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Too shocked to complain, the pair went on their merry way.’
  • make merry

    • Enjoy oneself with others by dancing and drinking.

      • ‘The topic ‘two dolphins making merry in sea, jumping in unison’, had made the children to permit their imagination run riot in rich colours.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Everyone made merry and most drank too much, including me!’
      • ‘She saw people feasting, dancing, and making merry, exactly as she expected.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I want to enjoy my existence on this earth, be happy and make merry.’
      • ‘Currently, the rest of the unit were making merry in there rooms, enjoying the few hours each day they got off.’
      • ‘He enjoys life to the extreme; he drinks and makes merry with his wide circle of friends.’
      • ‘Each was crammed with small parties of people making merry and recounting long passed glory days.’
      • ‘They made merry on Christmas, sometimes got drunk and became loud.’
      • ‘The demon in me wants to say party and make merry.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘We started off the evening at the house, drinking and making merry before we went out for the night.’
      • ‘An excuse to shop until you drop, drink to excess and make merry.’
      • ‘Relatives, friends and well wishers join together to eat, drink, and make merry.’
      • ‘By day, they gathered to denounce royal policy, while at night they expected to eat, drink, and make merry at the king's expense.’
      • ‘They binge on Thai food, drink and make merry, take the sun and gleefully partake in Pattaya's rowdy nightlife.’
      • ‘After a day of eating, drinking and making merry, round off with some words of wisdom from our favourite family.’
      • ‘They're both eager to drink, club and make merry in London while they can before returning to Tehran next week.’
      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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Oh and spread the word, tell your friends - 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.’
      • ‘Everyone is welcome to enter into this competition, 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!’’
      • ‘It's very much a matter of the more the merrier for a good cause.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘Second, when it comes to partying, the more the merrier.’
      • ‘For Allardyce it is a case of the more the merrier.’
      • ‘I think liberals should say, look, the more the merrier.’
      • ‘Girls and boys can play and the more the merrier.’
      • ‘It's raising money for Cancer Research and the Army Benevolent Fund so hopefully we will get a few there - the more the merrier!’
      • ‘But by the end of the day it was, like, the more the merrier.’
      • ‘If you'd like to beat me to the punch, please go ahead - the more the merrier.’
      • ‘To me, especially after September 11, everything is everyone's business should they wish it - the more the merrier.’
      • ‘All are welcome to the Autumn Social and the more the merrier.’
      • ‘All details appreciated and the more the merrier.’
      • ‘There is no one size that will fit all, I think the more the merrier frankly.’
      • ‘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.’


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