12 Synonyms For Happiness


The pursuit of happiness is one of the most ancient of human enterprises. Defined as “pleasure derived from attaining what you consider to be good,” the term happiness is rooted in the Old Norse root happ, which literally means “chance” or “good luck.” Maybe more luck goes into happiness than we like to think?

Happiness as a noun entered English in the 16th century, though the adjective happy predates this noun by 200 years. Sometimes, though, our emotions are more than just happy … so here are some other words to describe that fuzzy feeling of goodness. Oh, happy day.


Mirth is “amusement, especially when accompanied by laughter.” From Germanic origin, mirth shares a root with the word merry. It’s been around since the time Old English was spoken.


Joy is “the emotion of great delight caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.” This term entered English way back in the 1200s from the Old French joie.


Bliss is “supreme happiness, often associated with the joy of heaven.” It comes from the Old English blis and is related to the terms bless and blithe.


Elation is “a feeling of great joy or pride, or of exultant gladness.” In Middle English elat means “proud.” Elation ultimately comes from Latin, by way of Old French.


Glee is “open delight or pleasure.” This term has had musical associations since around 1000 when the noun glee could be used to refer to entertainment of the harmonious variety … funny how that comes back around.

The meaning of delight came about 100 years later, which made glee obsolete or comic by various dictionary editors by the 17th century, only to reemerge in common usage in the late 18th century.


Exultation is “lively or triumphant joy, generally over success or victory.” It comes from the Latin exultationem and has been used in English since the 1400s.


Euphoria is “a state of intense happiness and self-confidence.” The term is sometimes used in pathology to describe the state of patients.

This term has existed in English since the late 1600s and comes from the Greek euphoria meaning “a state of well-being.”


Jubilation is “a feeling or loud expression of joy, or a festive celebration.” This term entered English in the late 1300s from the Latin meaning “shouting for joy.”

It has since been immortalized in Simon and Garfunkel’s song “Cecilia”: “Jubilation! She loves me again; I fall on the floor and I’m laughing.”


Rapture is “ecstatic delight or joyful ecstasy.” It comes from the Latin raptura meaning “abduction,” “carrying away” and … “rape.” Uh, those aren’t very happy, what gives?

Well, this term can also refer to the carrying of a person to another sphere of existence. In Christian theology, the Rapture will happen when Christ returns to earth.


Gaiety is “a state of being vivacious and cheerful.” Rooted in the Old French gai, meaning “joyful; agreeably charming; forward, pert,” gaiety is what happens when everybody’s busy merrymaking instead of belly-aching.


Felicity is “the state of being happy, especially in a high degree.” It’s taken from the Latin root, felix, meaning “happy, fortunate, fruitful, fertile,” echoing the ancient Roman sentiment that that which produces more crops produces more happiness.


Joviality is “a state of hearty, joyous humor celebrating the spirit of good-fellowship.” Its roots are particularly celestial: it comes from the Latin Iovius, meaning “of or pertaining to Jupiter,” Roman god of the sky.

For even more synonyms for happiness, be sure to visit our synonym guru: Thesaurus.com.

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