Definitions

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

  • n. The state or feeling of being pleased or gratified.
  • n. A source of enjoyment or delight: The graceful skaters were a pleasure to watch.
  • n. Amusement, diversion, or worldly enjoyment: "Pleasure . . . is a safer guide than either right or duty” ( Samuel Butler).
  • n. Sensual gratification or indulgence.
  • n. One's preference or wish: What is your pleasure?
  • transitive v. To give pleasure or enjoyment to; gratify: Our host pleasured us with his company.
  • intransitive v. To take pleasure; delight: The hiker paused, pleasuring in the sounds of the forest.
  • intransitive v. To go in search of pleasure or enjoyment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a state of being pleased
  • n. a person, thing or action that causes enjoyment
  • n. one's preference
  • n. (uncountable) the will or desire of someone or some agency in power
  • interj. pleasure to meet you, pleased to meet you
  • v. to give pleasure (especially sexual pleasure) to
  • v. To take pleasure; to seek or pursue pleasure.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The gratification of the senses or of the mind; agreeable sensations or emotions; the excitement, relish, or happiness produced by the expectation or the enjoyment of something good, delightful, or satisfying; -- opposed to pain, sorrow, etc.
  • n. Amusement; sport; diversion; self-indulgence; frivolous or dissipating enjoyment; hence, sensual gratification; -- opposed to labor, service, duty, self-denial, etc.
  • n. What the will dictates or prefers as gratifying or satisfying; hence, will; choice; wish; purpose.
  • n. That which pleases; a favor; a gratification.
  • intransitive v. To take pleasure; to seek pursue pleasure.
  • transitive v. To give or afford pleasure to; to please; to gratify.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To give pleasure to; please; gratify.
  • n. That character of a feeling by virtue of which it gratifies the sentient being that experiences it, so that there is an impulse to its continuance or renewal.
  • n. Sensual gratification; indulgeuce of the appetites.
  • n. That which pleases or gratifies the senses or the mind; that which is delightful or beautiful.
  • n. A favor; gratification.
  • n. Will; desire; preference, or whatever one chooses, desires, or wills: as, it is my pleasure to remain.
  • n. Synonyms Joy, Delight, etc. (see gladness), satisfaction, comfort, solace.
  • n. Self-indulgence; luxury, sensuality, voluptuousness.
  • n. Kindness.

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

  • n. something or someone that provides a source of happiness
  • n. an activity that affords enjoyment
  • n. a fundamental feeling that is hard to define but that people desire to experience
  • n. sexual gratification
  • n. a formal expression

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French plaisir, from plaisir, to please; see please.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, alteration of Middle English plaisir ("pleasure"), from Old French plesir, plaisir ("to please"), infinitive used as a noun, conjugated form of plaisir or plaire, from Latin placēre ("to please, to seem good"), from the Proto-Indo-European *plā-k- (“wide and flat”). More at please. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Various objections might be made to motivational hedonism: that we are often motivated by things that do not in fact maximize our pleasure, such as motivation to step under a shower that one takes to be suitably warm but which is in fact scalding hot; that not every pleasure that our options for action make available to us motivates us; or that the very idea of maximum ˜pleasure over pain™ or

    Hedonism

  • If it is a claim about the common-sense pleasure concept, for example, then it is problematical to stipulate, as was done above, that ˜pleasure™ includes all positive experience.

    Hedonism

  • "Women" -- he said to me last night -- "are the only pleasure in life -- men and hunting bring content and happiness, work brings satisfaction, but women and their ways are the only _pleasure_."

    Man and Maid

  • Sexual excitement is accompanied throughout by a sensation of pleasure, specifically known as _voluptuous pleasure_, the _voluptuous sensation_, or simply _voluptuousness_ (in Latin, _libido sexualis_).

    The Sexual Life of the Child

  • You know as well as I do that to go to Brookroyd is always a pleasure to me, and that to one who has so little change, and so few friends as I have, it must be a _great pleasure_, but I am not at all times in the mood or circumstances to take my pleasure.

    Charlotte Brontë and Her Circle

  • A QUAKER (says Hood) makes a pleasure of his business, and then, for relaxation, makes a _business_ of his _pleasure_.

    The Jest Book The Choicest Anecdotes and Sayings

  • As I make use of the word _delight_ to express the sensation which accompanies the removal of pain or danger, so, when I speak of positive pleasure, I shall for the most part call it simply _pleasure_.

    The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 01 (of 12)

  • The least interest could make him abandon his honor; the smallest pleasure could seduce him from his interest; the most frivolous caprice was sufficient to counterbalance his pleasure* [** missing period]

    The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part F. From Charles II. to James II.

  • Since in God there is no pleasure that is not good, what difference can there be between the _good pleasure_ and the _will_ of God?

    The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales

  • ˜pleasure™ sometimes to refer to (a) a certain kind of mental state or sensation and at other times to refer to (b) non-mental items, such as actions, activities, and pursuits that do or can cause pleasurable mental states (cf. the way in which someone might refer to sexual activity as a bodily pleasure).

    Mill's Moral and Political Philosophy

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