gaiety or jollity, especially when accompanied by laughter: the excitement and mirth of the holiday season.
amusement or laughter: He was unable to conceal his mirth.
Origin: before 900;Middle Englishmirthe,Old Englishmyrgth. See merry, -th1
Synonyms 1, 2. Mirth, glee, hilarity, merriment, jollity, joviality refer to the gaiety characterizing people who are enjoying the companionship of others. Mirth suggests spontaneous amusement or gaiety, manifested briefly in laughter: uncontrolled outbursts of mirth.Glee suggests an effervescence of high spirits or exultation, often manifested in playful or ecstatic gestures; it may apply also to a malicious rejoicing over mishaps to others: glee over the failure of a rival.Hilarity implies noisy and boisterous mirth, often exceeding the limits of reason or propriety: hilarity aroused by practical jokes.Merriment suggests fun, good spirits, and good nature rather than the kind of wit and sometimes artificial funmaking that cause hilarity: The house resounded with music and sounds of merriment.Jollity and joviality may refer either to a general atmosphere of mirthful festivity or to the corresponding traits of individuals. Jollity implies an atmosphere of easy and convivial gaiety, a more hearty merriment or a less boisterous hilarity: The holiday was a time of jollity.Joviality implies a more mellow merriment generated by people who are hearty, generous, benevolent, and high-spirited: the joviality of warm-hearted friends.
O.E. myrgð "joy, pleasure," from P.Gmc. *murgitha, noun of quality from *murgjo- (see merry). Mirthquake "entertainment that excites convulsive laughter" first attested 1928, in ref. to Harold Lloyd movies.