Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Great pleasure; joy.
  • n. Something that gives great pleasure or enjoyment.
  • intransitive v. To take great pleasure or joy: delights in taking long walks.
  • intransitive v. To give great pleasure or joy: an old movie that still delights.
  • transitive v. To please greatly. See Synonyms at please.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. joy; pleasure
  • v. To give pleasure to.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A high degree of gratification of mind; a high- wrought state of pleasurable feeling; lively pleasure; extreme satisfaction; joy.
  • n. That which gives great pleasure or delight.
  • n. Licentious pleasure; lust.
  • intransitive v. To have or take great delight or pleasure; to be greatly pleased or rejoiced; -- followed by an infinitive, or by in.
  • transitive v. To give delight to; to affect with great pleasure; to please highly

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To affect with great pleasure or rapture; please highly; give or afford a high degree of satisfaction or enjoyment to: as, a beautiful landscape delights the eye; harmony delights the ear; poetry delights the mind.
  • To have or take great pleasure; be greatly pleased or rejoiced: followed by an infinitive or by in.
  • n. A high degree of pleasure or satisfaction; joy; rapture.
  • n. That which gives great pleasure; that which affords a high degree of satisfaction or enjoyment.
  • n. Licentious pleasure; lust.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. hold spellbound
  • v. take delight in
  • n. something or someone that provides a source of happiness
  • n. a feeling of extreme pleasure or satisfaction
  • v. give pleasure to or be pleasing to

Etymologies

Middle English delit, from Old French, a pleasure, from delitier, to please, charm, from Latin dēlectāre : dē-, intensive pref.; see de- + lactāre, frequentative of lacere, to entice.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
A wrong spelling, in imitation of words like light, might, etc.; the analogical modern spelling would be delite;, from Middle English deliten, from Old French deleiter, deliter, from Latin delectare ("to delight, please"), frequentative of delicere ("to allure"); see delicate. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "And I sat there, unable to take my eyes from the strip which persisted in remaining dark; I bent my whole body forward to make certain of noticing any change; but, gaze as I might, the the vertical black band, despite my impassioned longing, did not give me the intoxicating delight that I should have felt had I seen it changed by a stroke of sudden and significant magic to a luminous bar of gold."
    --Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright, p 174 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    February 13, 2009