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

  • noun The state or feeling of being pleased or gratified.
  • noun A source of enjoyment or delight.
  • noun Amusement, diversion, or worldly enjoyment.
  • noun Sensual gratification or indulgence.
  • noun One's preference or wish.
  • intransitive verb To give pleasure or enjoyment to; gratify.
  • intransitive verb To take pleasure; delight.
  • intransitive verb To go in search of pleasure or enjoyment.
  • idiom (my pleasure) Used to acknowledge an expression of gratitude.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To give pleasure to; please; gratify.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Sensual gratification; indulgeuce of the appetites.
  • noun That which pleases or gratifies the senses or the mind; that which is delightful or beautiful.
  • noun A favor; gratification.
  • noun Will; desire; preference, or whatever one chooses, desires, or wills: as, it is my pleasure to remain.
  • noun Synonyms Joy, Delight, etc. (see gladness), satisfaction, comfort, solace.
  • noun Self-indulgence; luxury, sensuality, voluptuousness.
  • noun Kindness.

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

  • intransitive verb To take pleasure; to seek pursue pleasure.
  • transitive verb To give or afford pleasure to; to please; to gratify.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Amusement; sport; diversion; self-indulgence; frivolous or dissipating enjoyment; hence, sensual gratification; -- opposed to labor, service, duty, self-denial, etc.
  • noun What the will dictates or prefers as gratifying or satisfying; hence, will; choice; wish; purpose.
  • noun That which pleases; a favor; a gratification.
  • noun by arbitrary will or choice.
  • noun to have enjoyment in.

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

  • noun uncountable a state of being pleased
  • noun countable a person, thing or action that causes enjoyment
  • noun uncountable one's preference
  • noun formal (uncountable) the will or desire of someone or some agency in power
  • interjection pleasure to meet you, pleased to meet you
  • verb transitive to give pleasure (especially sexual pleasure) to
  • verb intransitive, dated To take pleasure; to seek or pursue pleasure.

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

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


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

[Middle English, from Old French plaisir, from plaisir, to please; see please.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.


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  • 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 Moore, Andrew 2004

  • 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 Moore, Andrew 2004

  • "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 Elinor Glyn 1903

  • 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 Albert Moll 1900

  • 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 Clement King Shorter 1891

  • 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 Mark Lemon 1839

  • 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) Edmund Burke 1763

  • 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. David Hume 1743

  • 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 Jean Pierre Camus 1618

  • ˜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 Brink, David 2007


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