[mer-ee] /ˈmɛr i/

a female given name.
adjective -rier, -riest
cheerful; jolly
very funny; hilarious
(Brit, informal) slightly drunk
(archaic) delightful
make merry, to revel; be festive
(informal) play merry hell with, to disturb greatly; disrupt

Old English myrge “pleasing, agreeable, pleasant, sweet; pleasantly, melodiously,” from Proto-Germanic *murgijaz, which probably originally meant “short-lasting,” (cf. Old High German murg “short,” Gothic gamaurgjan “to shorten”), from PIE *mreghu- “short” (see brief (adj.)). The only exact cognate for meaning outside English was Middle Dutch mergelijc “joyful.”

Connection to “pleasure” is likely via notion of “making time fly, that which makes the time seem to pass quickly” (cf. German Kurzweil “pastime,” literally “a short time;” Old Norse skemta “to amuse, entertain, amuse oneself,” from skamt, neuter of skammr “short”). There also was a verbal form in Old English, myrgan “be merry, rejoice.” For vowel evolution, see bury (v.).

Bot vchon enle we wolde were fyf, þe mo þe myryer. [c.1300]

The word had much wider senses in Middle English, e.g. “pleasant-sounding” (of animal voices), “fine” (of weather), “handsome” (of dress), “pleasant-tasting” (of herbs). Merry-bout “an incident of sexual intercourse” was low slang from 1780. Merry-begot “illegitimate” (adj.), “bastard” (n.) is from 1785. Merrie England (now frequently satirical or ironic) is 14c. meri ingland, originally in a broader sense of “bountiful, prosperous.” Merry Monday was a 16c. term for “the Monday before Shrove Tuesday” (Mardi Gras).


Read Also:

  • Merrythought

    [mer-ee-thawt] /ˈmɛr iˌθɔt/ noun, Chiefly British. 1. the wishbone or furcula of a fowl. /ˈmɛrɪˌθɔːt/ noun 1. (Brit) a less common word for wishbone n. “wishbone,” c.1600, from merry (adj.) + thought. Also cf. wishbone.

  • Merry-widow

    noun 1. a woman’s undergarment consisting of a strapless brassiere and short corset with attached garters. 1907, from the English title of Franz Lehar’s operetta “Die Lustige Witwe” (1905). “The Lusty Widow” would have been more etymological (see lust (n.)), but would have given the wrong impression in English. Meaning “a type of wide-brimmed hat” […]

  • Merry-wives-of-windsor

    noun 1. a comedy (1598–1602?) by Shakespeare.

  • MERS

    [murz] /mɜrz/ noun 1. Middle East(ern) Respiratory Syndrome: an often fatal respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus similar to the SARS virus and characterized by fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.

Disclaimer: Merrys definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.