There are 2 main definitions of jolly in English:

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jolly1

Syllabification: jol·ly
Pronunciation: /ˈjälē
 
/

adjective (jollier, jolliest)

1Happy and cheerful: he was a jolly man full of jokes
More example sentences
  • Another book signing and talk with hundreds of cheerful, jolly people.
  • His family described Michael this week as a jolly, happy little lad, who had just turned two years old on May 3 last.
  • It wasn't like it was a big walk in the park, everybody was happy and jolly all the time and talking about their next project.
1.1 informal or dated Lively and entertaining: we had a very jolly time
More example sentences
  • On-board entertainment including the relentlessly jolly children's club and the cabaret kept us busy until bedtime.
  • It's almost sad that Mad Mel is on holiday, her reactions to such a jolly entertainment would be a treat.
  • So it is a bit odd that the nations choose to come here for a jolly festival of running, jumping and splashing about.

verb (jollies, jollied)

[with object] informal Back to top  
1Encourage (someone) in a friendly way: he jollied people along they were trying to jolly her out of her torpor
More example sentences
  • But equally it was obvious from the reactions to my confidential letter that unless I forced the issue they would keep jollying me along and not do anything about finding a successor.
  • She has jollied people along when they needed it, but has also been a good face and voice in the media for the needs of the farming and rural community.
  • The Lion's Club, the Rotary, the Women's Institute, whatever was on the social calendar you could bet that Ant would be involved, jollying everyone along, making sure everyone got a chance to shine.
1.1 (jolly someone/something up) Make someone or something more lively or cheerful: ideas to jolly up a winter’s party
More example sentences
  • To jolly things up Blighty made the joke about it being a shame more of the voters weren't undead, then Howard might have a chance.
  • Beaton would receive the speech, jolly it up and send it back.
  • There was a time when his plain speaking was a joy to the ear but can't you just jolly it up a bit, Al?

adverb

[as submodifier] British informal Back to top  
Very; extremely: that’s a jolly good idea
More example sentences
  • He said: ‘It sounds like a jolly good idea to me and I will do all I can to find out more.’
  • I have to say that I think it's a jolly good idea - a statement that I know will make my parents proud.
  • For some reason it seemed like a jolly good idea, and in a fit of supreme confidence in my own abilities, I accepted.

noun (plural jollies)

British informal Back to top  
A party or celebration.
Example sentences
  • Next week we've got the rabble that is the Tory fascists party gathering for their annual jolly.
  • Alfie will be off on a bit of a jolly for the next few days.
  • A few years before, Ash, Chaz and I went to New York for a bit of a jolly.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French jolif, an earlier form of joli 'pretty', perhaps from Old Norse jól (see Yule).

Phrases

get one's jollies

1
informal Have fun or find pleasure.
Example sentences
  • So as a singer, I really, really, you know, got my jollies, so to speak, getting to sing these great songs.
  • Pottinger was getting his jollies with the car in a special one day racing licence course where he was trying to gain endorsement to gain his Confederation of Australian Motor Sport licence.
  • I just can't stand the type of person who gets their jollies and feeling of personal power from pushing around others they consider to be inferior to them.

jolly well

2
British informal Used for emphasis, especially when one is angry or irritated: I’m going to keep on eating as much sugar as I jolly well like
More example sentences
  • You see what an expense you've jolly well gone and caused there?
  • As an AA spokesman put it: ‘In spite of petrol prices it seemed everyone thought, ‘This was our last chance and we'll jolly well make the most of it’.’
  • I'd like to see what our roof looks like - whether it has a lake on it like the flat roofs in the courtyard below - but unfortunately, Google doesn't jolly well support Macintoshes.

Derivatives

jollily

1
Pronunciation: /ˈjäləlē/
adverb
Example sentences
  • ‘That is to remind you of your day in Santa's village,’ he laughs jollily.
  • ‘Maybe she will get jealous and come back to me,’ Chris thought jollily.
  • The two looked around at their reception and jollily simpered at the limbo line lead by their dear friend Ashton Kutcher.

jolliness

2
noun
Example sentences
  • The air inside the pub was dense and suffocating, thick with sweat and laughter, jolliness engulfing and eating away at everything in the room.
  • By the end of lunch, the conversation had put back on its veneer reflection of gaiety and jolliness.
  • I wanted to ask Mr. Scott since he's always so jolly and happy that if people see him with his jolliness.

Definition of jolly in:

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There are 2 main definitions of jolly in English:

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jolly2

Syllabification: jol·ly
Pronunciation: /ˈjälē
 
/
(also jolly boat)

noun (plural jollies)

A lapstraked ship’s boat that is smaller than a cutter, typically hoisted at the stern of the ship.
Example sentences
  • In the old days, this meant sending jolly boats ashore and sacking a town, as Captain Henry Morgan did throughout the Spanish colonies at Portobello, Maracaibo, and Panama City in the late 17th century.
  • Redwing ordered them to lower the anchor, and they got into the jolly boats and went ashore.
  • Then the crew, minus the few who were to stand watch, piled into the jolly boats to go ashore.

Origin

early 18th century: perhaps related to yawl.

Definition of jolly in:

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