Definition of pleasure in US English:



  • 1A feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.

    ‘she smiled with pleasure at being praised’
    • ‘People pet cats because giving another being pleasure is satisfying; the genius of cats is simply to be willing to be honest about how good it feels to be petted.’
    • ‘More blood two days before the party gave her the boost she needed, and left us all with a happy memory of her pleasure.’
    • ‘It was an expression of satisfaction and pleasure; he could glean that much from the swirling and shifting of her mental aura.’
    • ‘The good is not mere satisfaction or pleasure, but that which satisfies a person as a human.’
    • ‘Canace had smiled in joy and pleasure, although she didn't completely understand.’
    • ‘What I want to do is to give my customers the satisfaction and pleasure.’
    • ‘There was no uncertainty, no wavering, no hesitation, nor was there any mirth, any pleasure, any satisfaction.’
    • ‘Grossly immoral standards are portrayed as if they are the norm and will bring utmost satisfaction and pleasure.’
    • ‘Being happy and feeling pleasure are good things that you need not ever deny yourself.’
    • ‘But the ability to give grandiose expression to excessive sentiment must offer some satisfaction, some pleasure.’
    • ‘Perhaps if he had been more concerned with self-advancement he might not have fallen into obscurity - but would he then have produced such happy music for our pleasure?’
    • ‘But now I've got doctors helping me so I'm really dispensable in so many ways and so what I do I do just for my own satisfaction and pleasure.’
    • ‘Do you think that I would do this for my own satisfaction or pleasure?’
    • ‘She acquired other things but instead of regarding these things as possessions which defined who she was, she saw them as things which simply gave her satisfaction and pleasure.’
    • ‘One gains the greatest type of satisfaction and pleasure from doing the right thing, and as a result the two choices merge into one.’
    • ‘If you were to do that, then you'd see that this is a delightful family film with enough gentle pleasure to satisfy both the children and the parents.’
    • ‘He crossed the line rubbing his hands together gleefully, with all the pure pleasure of a happy 15 year old boy.’
    • ‘Like pleasure, virtue is sought for its own sake.’
    • ‘Sometimes your only compensation will be the satisfaction and pleasure of your own personal achievements; it may not be your placings.’
    • ‘Everyone present expressed satisfaction, approval, pleasure and delight at being in attendance.’
    happiness, delight, joy, gladness, rapture, glee, satisfaction, gratification, fulfilment, contentment, contentedness, enjoyment, amusement
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    1. 1.1 Enjoyment and entertainment, contrasted with things done out of necessity.
      ‘she had not traveled for pleasure for a long time’
      • ‘People have been skiing since 3000BC, but the birth of modern skiing - for pleasure rather than necessity - only began in the late nineteenth century.’
      • ‘There's a problem here, an interesting one if one is concerned about reading as an act of pleasure as opposed to literature as a field of scholarship.’
      • ‘We must think of ourselves, not in terms of the satisfaction we get, from what we eat, or enjoy as pleasure, or entertainment today.’
      • ‘The Field with its cast of classical characters in an epic setting is sure to be an evening of entertainment and pleasure not to be missed.’
      • ‘Glasgow has become a place of leisure, pleasure and entertainment.’
      • ‘Some parts of the building are for entertainment, pleasure, and relaxation; others for work and for meeting outsiders.’
      • ‘This seems quite strange to the modern sensibility, which associates organised travel purely with relaxation and pleasure.’
      • ‘Parents want more from their children's entertainment than mere pleasure.’
      • ‘Five lounges exist for entertainment pleasure, including a show lounge offering live music, a sports bar and grille, and a coffee bar lounge.’
      • ‘Read it for all the same reasons that you would read the novels - for boundless entertainment and for pure pleasure.’
      • ‘On the second conception, all we want, when we want to be happy, is pleasure.’
      • ‘He allowed no expenditure for entertainments or pleasure.’
      • ‘The toy is a tool for pleasure, leisure, and entertainment.’
      • ‘It turns obligation into pleasure, a daily necessity into a celebration.’
      • ‘The family shared Calvin's view that ‘we cannot avoid those things, which seem to serve pleasure rather than necessity’.’
      • ‘It is giving away, or not indulging in, pleasure for entertainment's sake.’
      • ‘Attempts to create a more patriotic and disciplined culture soon reshaped what remained of popular pleasure and entertainment.’
      • ‘Yet by far the overwhelming majority of vacationers travel for pleasure.’
      • ‘I'm becoming a master of the Friday early night/lie-in combo right now, although this is more out of necessity than pleasure, sadly.’
      • ‘The only way to do that is to attract people to visit the town for pleasure and entertainment and to create wealth by providing employment.’
      enjoyment, fun, entertainment, amusement, diversion, recreation, leisure, relaxation
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    2. 1.2 An event or activity from which one derives enjoyment.
      ‘the car makes driving in the city a pleasure’
      • ‘But do not renounce the pleasure of being happy and of making for happiness in this.’
      • ‘This movie was one of the unexpected pleasures of the Toronto International Film Festival.’
      • ‘I resist the view that the pleasures of fiction derive from its purely thought-experimental aspects.’
      • ‘All we will feel is a pang of regret for the times when sport seemed such good company, giving us so many pleasures.’
      • ‘I now have a wonderful boyfriend, and it is my great pleasure to make him happy in every way I can.’
      • ‘But we also get the social pleasures of drink, as hobby and recreation, as lifestyle choice.’
      • ‘It is undoubtedly true that the pleasures of smoking are derived from the actions of nicotine on the central nervous system.’
      • ‘This is the week to indulge in your fondness for sports and pleasures, but beware of scandals.’
      • ‘For your reading pleasure, we are happy to publish a few of the more reasoned responses from a group of very grown up, brave and clear-headed individuals.’
      • ‘He was a precocious genius, became famous very early, and for a while tasted society life and the pleasure of entertainment and diversion.’
      • ‘Eating disorders are an example of the loss of the ability to be satisfied with the simplest pleasure of life.’
      • ‘His own interest in food lay in the pleasures to be derived from it.’
      • ‘Not only does a garden bring some of the pleasures of rural life to the city, with a variety of plant life, it will also attract wildlife.’
      • ‘She also had the satisfaction and pleasure of having a rare bird's-eye-view of the city's landscape.’
      • ‘They have an inclination for pleasures and they desire to revel in them for ever.’
      • ‘She lacked a vision of enjoyment of life's pleasures as obedience to the divine will.’
      • ‘The central pleasure of a truly satisfying memoir is the narrator's ability to reflect, artfully and persuasively.’
      • ‘This also embraces your innate inclination towards the leisurely enjoyment of life's pleasures.’
      • ‘Having said that, the film is not without its pleasures, most of which derive from the casting.’
      • ‘For Dr Hall, one of the festival's great pleasures is seeing these friends of Jorvik arrive each year.’
      joy, delight, source of pleasure, enjoyment, amusement, diversion, recreation, pastime, divertissement
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    3. 1.3 Sensual gratification.
      • ‘It all takes place in a walled garden containing a pool used for either purification or sensual pleasure.’
      • ‘There's a predictable but effective sensual pleasure here.’
      • ‘No matter how hard we try to be spiritual, it's sensual pleasure we succumb to.’
      • ‘One does not preclude the other - you can experience the ecstasy and the agony of having children and the joy and pleasure of a satisfying love life.’
      • ‘We are notoriously bad at judging what will give us long-term satisfaction versus just short-term pleasure.’
      • ‘His aim is increased sensual pleasure, both now and in the future.’
      • ‘I'm quite disappointed in myself; I expected I'd sneak a smoke here in New York, just for the sheer sensual pleasure of it.’
      • ‘The body has needs that give pleasure when satisfied.’
      • ‘In the name of beauty they can take pain as pleasure, treat suffering as a blessing and regard bitterness as a great enjoyment.’
      • ‘The here and now is about sensual pleasure, and I don't want thoughts of love ruining that.’
      • ‘The pain receded, the feeling of sensual pleasure slid away from her.’
      • ‘I imagine many so-called moralists are secretly jealous of teens engaged in pleasure, as opposed to any serious moral valuation they may hold.’
      • ‘He was only a man, a man that wanted nothing else than a woman to follow his orders and satisfy his pleasure.’
      • ‘The woman is a person who is to be loved and willed for her own sake, not an object to be taken and used for the man's gratification and pleasure.’
      • ‘Claire started struggling again at this newfound sensation of pain and pleasure.’
      • ‘Promoting sensual pleasure, selfish interest, consumerism and individualism should not be the ultimate goal.’
      • ‘If a girl could be brought up in the same way as a boy, her sexual potential and her sexual satisfaction, her sexual pleasure could be exactly the same.’
      • ‘His films generally concern the cruel power of obsessional love and the need for sensual pleasure.’
      • ‘Music is the only sensual pleasure without vice.’
      • ‘She introduced him to sensual and sexual pleasure, but her continued liaisons caused him pain.’
      sensual gratification, hedonism, indulgence, self-indulgence, self-gratification, lack of self-restraint, lotus-eating
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  • attributive Used or intended for entertainment rather than business.

    ‘pleasure boats’
    • ‘But there were not just pleasure boats on the canal.’
    • ‘Southend Airport today launched a major campaign to revive short-haul business and pleasure flights to Europe.’
    • ‘The barking of geese broke the silence, greylags and Canada share open water with oystercatchers; I guess these ponds are soon to be more marinas for the pleasure boats.’
    • ‘There is imminent danger of collapse into the narrow channel that allows fishing boats and pleasure craft access to the deep, protected inner harbour.’
    • ‘Many countries may have thought that the people of Pakistan are a prosperous lot as they frequently travel abroad for business or pleasure trips.’
    • ‘The proposed marina will be one of a network of marinas catering for local pleasure craft and for boats circumnavigating the island of Ireland.’
    • ‘I recognized the unpleasant sensation immediately from a business and pleasure trip to Thailand I took in '98.’
    • ‘Its denim blazer is a stylish item perfect for a business casual office, a date on the town, and even a business or pleasure trip.’
    • ‘Intense winds can capsize even large pleasure boats.’
    • ‘It had become a rather frenetic pleasure garden, and was only one among several.’
    • ‘Robinson added: " There isn't a market there yet for pleasure boats.’
    • ‘The pleasure business is clearly a successful one.’
    • ‘The senior comrades were certainly keen, clambering about the pleasure boats at a rate that put me to shame, and endlessly asking the tour guide to take their picture in front of some scenic view.’
    • ‘He said at any given time there were up to 2,000 people on ferries, pleasure boats, trawlers and cargo ships off the South East coast and the helicopter service was vital.’
    • ‘The old harbour will be reworked for smaller boats and pleasure craft.’
    • ‘I was in Phoenix this past weekend on a combination business and pleasure trip.’
    • ‘The chairman pointed out that a pontoon had been constructed on the west side of the harbour beside the Marina House to facilitate angling boats, pleasure crafts and the diving centre.’
    • ‘Instead of staying cooped up in a hotel room on a mid-week business or pleasure trip to London, take in some of the city's top West End shows.’
    • ‘Memory is brutally selective as I recall past family holidays, particularly one on Loch Ness when I managed to steer our hired cruiser into a passenger pleasure boat.’
    • ‘This is why Taiwan is staking a claim by moving to a higher end product and allowing China to soak up the less prestigious and demanding pleasure boat business.’


[with object]
  • 1Give sexual enjoyment or satisfaction to.

    ‘tell me what will pleasure you’
    • ‘I lived in Banbury Road and was walking through Bevington Road late at night and witnessed a middle-aged man pleasuring himself by the phone box.’
    • ‘Popular advice for young men and, oddly, for young women, often seems to be centred on pleasuring men.’
    • ‘Which newsreader was fired by her network telly bosses after security video managed to catch her orally pleasuring a lucky pilot on the station's roof top helicopter pad?’
    • ‘Remember when Chandler switched channels just as Monica came home, leading her to think he was pleasuring himself in front of a nature program?’
    • ‘It is a wonderful, and natural, way of releasing sexual tension, and pleasuring one's self.’
    • ‘These techniques are just suggestions - most guys will tell you what they like or you can experiment with other ways of pleasuring him.’
    • ‘The small motel room echoed with her moans of satisfaction and his sighs of pleasuring her.’
    1. 1.1pleasure inno object Derive enjoyment from.
      ‘risky verbal exchanges that the pair might pleasure in’
      • ‘My dear, I used to think I was serving humanity and I pleasured in the thought.’
      • ‘They are a kind of pleasuring in the language.’


  • at someone's pleasure

    • As and when someone wishes.

      ‘the landlord could terminate the agreement at his pleasure’
      • ‘Well, I serve, obviously, at the president 's pleasure.’
      • ‘He resides in this country at our pleasure, on a temporary protection visa, and has no right to call himself Australian yet.’
      • ‘The next morning you can loaf around at your pleasure, and in the afternoon there will be a demonstration of a back massage, followed by gentle exercise and some stimulating oils to prepare you for your journey home.’
      • ‘However, to appease smokers, ashtrays are to be erected outside the foyer where people will be able to smoke at their pleasure.’
      • ‘Yes, many people like the book, and it would be stony-hearted of me not to be pleased at their pleasure.’
      • ‘Department managers, once kings and queens of their own domains, would serve at the mayor 's pleasure as his cabinet.’
      • ‘The liberty of the subject is not safe when they can imprison at their pleasure, and keep men in jail till their health is impaired, without even the form of a trial.’
      • ‘It was never enough to read and fill my mind with rich thoughts, to call upon at my pleasure, for I wished to summon them all at once in a moment of supreme consciousness.’
      • ‘Do you, Senator, want judges and mayors to be able, at their pleasure, to render laws useless?’
      • ‘They don't value families; they value having the authority to control others or punish them at their pleasure.’
  • have the pleasure of something (or of doing something)

    • Used in formal requests and descriptions.

      ‘he asked if he might have the pleasure of taking her to lunch’
      • ‘‘I don't think that person's going to have the pleasure of it,’ I said.’
      • ‘Great fun was had by all while filling the boxes but this will be nothing compared to the awesome wonder and happiness experienced by the children who will have the pleasure of opening them!’
      • ‘Now someone else is going to have the pleasure of it, and it may be that he or she will appreciate it even more than I would.’
      • ‘Or you can stay on my train, where I'll have the pleasure of taking you up towards Edgware Road.’
      • ‘But that means you don't have the pleasure of adorning the tree, or the season-ending finality of returning the ornaments to their boxes.’
      • ‘You may guess all you want, but you will never have the pleasure of knowing you are correct.’
      • ‘Now such readers who are housebound, agoraphobic or simply stuck at work all day can have the pleasure of browsing the highbrow press without even getting out of their chairs.’
      • ‘For those who have never had the pleasure of a flight into a combat zone, let me describe your loss.’
      • ‘I didn't ever have the pleasure of knowing him, Larry.’
      • ‘Now I just want to have the pleasure of seeing the best of it too!’
  • my pleasure

    • Used as a polite reply to thanks.

      ‘“Oh, thank you!” “My pleasure.”’
      • ‘‘It is my pleasure,’ Ethan said, shaking both of their hands and sitting down at the glossy table with Steve.’
      • ‘‘It was my pleasure,’ he replied as he pulled out a half a loaf of bread, some meat and cheese.’
      • ‘Even when I ask for more Polynesian sauce they still reply, "My pleasure."’
      • ‘Plus I will buy you a drink or even several… believe me, that would be my pleasure.’
      • ‘I looked at him and said, "Thanks a lot, Steve, that was really good." He lifted his hand and said, "It's my pleasure."’
      • ‘Besides, it was my pleasure to review you in the first place.’
  • take pleasure in

    • Derive happiness or enjoyment from.

      ‘they take a perverse pleasure in causing trouble’
      • ‘Happiness is the art of taking pleasure in what you have.’
      • ‘Your partner may also love it or will simply take pleasure in your happiness.’
      • ‘The idea is to get some experience under your belt, make some cash and take pleasure in what you're doing.’
      • ‘Whether you're a city dweller or a country bumpkin like myself, it seems that we all take pleasure in what nature holds for us.’
      • ‘Our work is not drudgery, but something we are to take pleasure in today.’
      • ‘We got in touch with other writers and we have pulled together a few items for you to, hopefully, take pleasure in.’
      • ‘If you want to be happy, you have to take pleasure in what you have.’
      • ‘There were times when she seemed almost to take pleasure in that.’
      • ‘In other words, if we take pleasure in what God has given us, He'll give us more.’
      • ‘When this work is complete the river will become something to take pleasure in again, rather than being an eyesore.’
      enjoy, delight in, love, like, adore, be entertained by, be amused by, be pleased by, appreciate, relish, savour, revel in, glory in
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  • what's your pleasure?

    • What would you like? (used especially when offering someone a choice)

      ‘“What's your pleasure?” “A cappuccino, please.”’
      • ‘Come on tell me. What's your pleasure? Vodka and cherry. Shaken, not stirred.’
      • ‘What's your guilty pleasure film wise?’
      wish, desire, preference, will, inclination, choice, option
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  • with pleasure

    • Gladly (used to express polite agreement or acceptance).

      • ‘The members of the Orpington Friendship Club often look forward with pleasure to the various talks offered during the year.’
      • ‘He was in marvellous form, I noted with pleasure, and he had no intention of staying in bed.’
      • ‘In front of the goals, Malcolm Ross accepted the ball with pleasure and he scored seven goals.’
      • ‘They could have the table with pleasure - in return for a signed photo for his friend Mike.’
      • ‘He was in fact the worker of extraordinary things, the teacher of men who accept the truth with pleasure.’
      • ‘I was flattered and somewhat surprised, but accepted with pleasure.’
      • ‘I always knew that what I did was putting me in real danger, but I did it with pleasure.’
      • ‘I have been seeking a call for some time, and it is with pleasure that I rise to speak against Part 2.’
      • ‘It is with pleasure that I make a contribution on Part 1 of the Supreme Court Bill.’
      gladly, willingly, happily, readily, cheerfully, by all means, of course
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Late Middle English: from Old French plaisir ‘to please’ (used as a noun). The second syllable was altered under the influence of abstract nouns ending in -ure, such as measure.