July 9, 2014

Case File #014.07.09: JOY

The noun joy has its roots in the Latin verb gaudere, which was used to mean both “to be happy” and “to rejoice.” From the Latin verb came the noun gaudium, meaning “delight” or “something that causes delight,” and its plural gaudia, and gaudia later passed into Old French as joie, which meant “a feeling of intense pleasure or happiness, or an instance of such a feeling” and “a source of great pleasure or happiness.” Around 1200, Middle English speakers borrowed the Old French noun but quickly Anglicized its form to the now familiar joy, and not long after, the English word also acquired two verb senses: “to experience great pleasure” and “to take delight in (something).” The verb, however, eventually fell out of favor with everybody except poets, and only the noun senses of joy remain in common use today.

©2014 Michael R. Gates

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