Definitions

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

  • n. A state of joyful exuberance or merriment; vivacity.
  • n. Merry or joyful activity; festivity: making preparations for the holiday gaieties.
  • n. Bright color or showiness, as of dress; finery.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of being happy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Same as gayety.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being gay; cheerful animation; mirthfulness.
  • n. Action or acts prompted by or inspiring merry delight; a pleasure: commonly in the plural: as, the gaieties of the season.
  • n. Finery; showiness: as, gaiety of dress.
  • n. Synonyms Life, Liveliness, etc. (see animation); cheerfulness. joyousness, blitheness. glee, jollity.

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

  • n. a gay feeling
  • n. a festive merry feeling

Etymologies

French gaieté, from Old French, from gai, cheerful; see gay.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French gaieté, from French gai (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • On leave, many of your men gravitate towards the Piccadilly neighbourhood, where, despite the black-out, rationing and high prices, a certain spirituous gaiety is still achieved, but this is more likely to lower the bank account than to raise the view of the earnestness of our war-effort.

    Dunkirk to Dieppe and Beyond

  • If he wants to be danced, we see that he has discovered that gaiety is exhilarating to us; if he refuses to be moved, we take notice that he fears to fatigue us.

    Juniper Hall: A Rendezvous of Certain Illustrious Personages during the French Revolution, Including Alexandre D'Arblay and Fanny Burney

  • She sought solitude, and avoided us when in gaiety and unrestrained affection we met in a family circle.

    I.10

  • I took leave of him with regret. his gaiety is inoffensive, & our intimacy at Lisbon created many ideas & associations which he only partakes. this evening he will be at Bath; & I hope my mothers affairs will now be settled comfortably; the plan of settling them once fixed, I expect her here.

    Letter 247

  • His son seems weaker in his understanding, and more gay in his temper; but his gaiety is that of a foolish, overgrown school-boy, whose mirth consists in noise and disturbance.

    Evelina: or, The History of a Young Lady's Entrance Into the World

  • Notwithstanding all my daughter says in gaiety of heart, she would sooner even relinquish the man she loves, than offend a father in whom she has always found the tenderest and most faithful of friends.

    The History of Emily Montague

  • This doesn’t surprise, since Lubitch’s stamp of forced gaiety is all over this gilded fabergé egg of a film chronicling Catherine the Great (Tallulah Bankhead) as she seduces a young army officer (William Eythe).

    Weekly Mishmash: June 21-27 : Scrubbles.net

  • If at such scenes she was seen for an instant, she appeared to behold them with the composed indifference of one to whom their gaiety was a matter of no interest, and who seemed only desirous to glide away from the scene as soon as she possibly could.

    The Monastery

  • Laughter is easily restrained, by a very little reflection; but as it is generally connected with the idea of gaiety, people do not enough attend to its absurdity.

    Letters to his son on The Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman

  • In the midst of all this gaiety, that is to say on the 12th of February,

    Court Memoirs of France Series — Complete

Comments

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  • "Everyone was disposed to be kind to little Ellen Mingott, though her dusky red cheeks and tight curls gave her an air of gaiety that seemed unsuitable in a child who should still have been in black for her parents."
    - Edith Wharton, 'The Age of Innocence'.

    September 19, 2009

  • GAietY

    May 2, 2008