from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Full of cheerfulness, liveliness, and good feelings.
  • adjective Marked by or offering fun, good feelings, and liveliness; festive.
  • adjective Brisk.
  • adjective Archaic Delightful or pleasing.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Merrily; in a lively manner.
  • Exciting feelings of enjoyment and. gladness; causing cheerfulness or light-heartedness; pleasant; delightful; happy: as, the merry month of May; a merry spectacle.
  • Playfully cheerful or gay; enlivened with gladness or good spirits; mirthful in speech or action; frolicsome; hilarious; jubilant: as, a merry company.
  • Sportive and mirthful in quality or character; jocund; jovial; rollicking; funny: as, a merry heart; a merry song.
  • Brisk; lively; cheery.
  • Full of gibes: sneering; sarcastic.
  • To make merry or glad; please; gratify; delight.
  • noun The wild cherry of England, Prunus avium.

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

  • noun (Bot.) A kind of wild red cherry.
  • adjective Laughingly gay; overflowing with good humor and good spirits; jovial; inclined to laughter or play; sportive.
  • adjective Cheerful; joyous; not sad; happy.
  • adjective Causing laughter, mirth, gladness, or delight.
  • adjective See under Dancer.
  • adjective [Obs.] followers; retainers.
  • adjective to be jovial; to indulge in hilarity; to feast with mirth.

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

  • adjective Jolly and full of high spirits
  • adjective Festive and full of fun and laughter
  • adjective Brisk
  • adjective happy or showing enjoyment

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

  • adjective quick and energetic
  • adjective full of or showing high-spirited merriment
  • adjective offering fun and gaiety


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

[Middle English merri, from Old English mirige, pleasant; see mregh-u- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English merie, mirie, myrie, murie, murȝe, from Old English meriġe, miriġe, myriġe, myreġe, myrġe ("pleasing, agreeable; pleasant, sweet, delightful; melodious"), from Proto-Germanic *murguz (“short, slow”), from Proto-Indo-European *mréǵʰus (“short”). Cognate with Scots mery, mirry ("merry"), Old High German murg, murgi ("short, brief"; > German murk ("short, lazy")), Norwegian dialectal myrjel ("small object, figurine"), Latin brevis ("short, small, narrow, shallow").



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  • For some people, Mary, merry, and marry all sound different. For others, they sound the same. You can see a map of this phenomenon (in the US) here.

    April 10, 2008

  • You could wed Mary on Chrismtas Day and go for the trifecta.

    August 22, 2008

  • Mother shakes the cherry-tree,

    Susan catch a cherry;

    Oh how funny that will be,

    Let's be merry!

    - Christina Rossetti, 'Let's Be Merry'.

    November 1, 2008