from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete Jollity; merriment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun obsolete Enjoyment, delight, pleasure.
  • noun The sexual connotation (i.e. orgasm) lacking in the English word "enjoyment", and therefore left untranslated in English editions of the works of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From late Old French jouissance, from jouir ("to enjoy").


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  • Lacan introduced the term jouissance as a foundation of the pleasure principle, which, at its furthest extreme in the pleasure/pain dialectic, becomes suffering.


  • It is humor that illustrates the potential force of recognizing the humor, jouissance, that is already present in language anyway.


  • Those who believe in the power of "jouissance" need to be able not just to know what displeases or alienates them; rather they need - sometimes - help to articulate that which they would change and to do that they need addresses, processes and printing facilities that are beyond most individuals. news, business, sport, the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sunday Telegraph 2010

  • First, he considers Jacques-Alain Miller's suggestion that after the fantasy is traversed there is a kind of jouissance in language, a kind of pleasure in meaningless, empty speech.

    I cite 2009

  • The presence of Hal adds the dimension of real to the scene and provides access to the jouissance which is thwarted by the pleasure principle, i.e. the principle of sticking to the level of minimum enjoyment to prevent the slightest unpleasant possibility.

    I cite 2009

  • Žižek argues that sexual repression has largely been replaced by 'jouissance' ( 'excess enjoyment') in consumer capitalism.

    Anarchist news dot org - News for anarchists and their friends 2009

  • But let's not be naive, to follow Jesus does not mean we go to church where more identity occurs: i.e., the speaker proclaims through a sermon what a christian should look like, or pay out more money to charities, or sing more songs that promise spiritual jouissance.

    George Elerick: Love Is Violent George Elerick 2011

  • Yes, in the final analysis, after we have had our sum of synaptical jouissance, it pretty much is about making babies.

    Giving evidence to the Chilcot inquiry, Tony Blair said: “I... 2010

  • And everybody, it seems, is shadowed by an imaginary other person, a lucky counterpart, who gets all the happiness going; Lacan writes of "the jealousy born in a subject in his relation to an other, insofar as this other is held to enjoy a certain form of jouissance or superabundant vitality".

    Over the moon: Adam Phillips on the happiness myth Adam Phillips 2010

  • The aim, in other words, is precisely the necrophilic jouissance of postponement, an endless deferral, a tantric-sex approach to narrative satisfaction.

    Archive 2010-05-01 Adam Roberts 2010


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  • Jollity; merriment.

    June 9, 2008

  • Luce was interested in the gender giveaways of my prose, of course. He measured my jouissance against my linearity. He picked up on my Victorian flourishes, my antique diction, my girls' school propriety. These all weighed heavily in his final assessment.

    —Jeffrey Eugenides, 2002, Middlesex, p. 418

    August 17, 2008

  • From the literary encyclopedia:

    A French word which derives from the verb jouir meaning to have pleasure in, to enjoy, to appreciate, to savour; with a secondary meaning, as in English, of having rights and pleasures in the use of, as in the phrases “she enjoyed good health�?, “she enjoyed a considerable fortune�?, and “all citizens enjoy the right of freedom of expression�?. The derived noun, jouissance, has three current meanings in French: it signifies an extreme or deep pleasure; it signifies sexual orgasm; and in law, it signifies having the right to use something, as in the phrase avoir la jouissance de quelque chose. The word becomes relevant to cultural and literary studies through its usage by the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan to signify the condition or bliss, arrival, merging with the other, which can be associated with orgasm but also the obtention of any particularly desired object or condition - for the explorer, arriving at the North Pole perhaps. Jouissance, for Lacan, is not a purely pleasurable experience but arises through augmenting sensation to a point of discomfort (as in the sexual act, where the cry of passion is at times indistinguishable from the cry of pain), or as in running a marathon. Such experiences, as Freud recognised in his essay “Beyond the Pleasure Principle�? (1920), seem to come close to death, and in Freud’s theory imply an urge to regress to the inorganic state that preceded life. For Lacan, on the other hand, jouissance seems to imply a desire to abolish the condition of lack (la manque) to which we are condemned by our acceptance of the signs of the symbolic order in place of the Real.

    October 26, 2009