This word could hardly be more positive in its associations. Its definition in the Oxford English Dictionary brims with agreeableness: “Feeling, expressing, or communicating mirth or cheerfulness; mirthful, merry, cheerful, blithe, sprightly, light-hearted; pleasant, cheering, delightful”. That definition also included the word that dare not speak its name these days in such company, gay. Jocund comes down to us via Old French from Latin jucundus, meaning pleasant or agreeable, from the verb juvare, to aid, help, please or delight.
Dictionaries describe it as rather formal and it feels a little old-fashioned, to the extent that it sometimes appears these days as a mildly humorous term for being agreeable. But not always:
More than 8,000 coloured fairy lights are aglow in Falmouth’s shopping streets this Christmas. Their glint and twinkle in the old town centre is as jocund and seasonable as a Yuletide fire or the green and red of a holly bough.
The West Briton, 23 Dec. 2010.
That wasn’t so for Wordsworth, wandering lonely as a cloud while intent on watching his daffodils: “The waves beside them danced; but they / Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: / A poet could not but be gay, / In such a jocund company”. Or indeed Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet: “Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day / stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops”.
Search World Wide Words
Recently added or updated
E31; Old fogey; Ampersand; Phizzog; Horse creature; Get one’s goat; Mammock; Mx; Stepney; Vape; No names, no pack drill; Bridegroom; Lilly-low; The Language Myth by Vyvyan Evans; Boot and trunk; Zoilism; Fish-faced; Poach; Immensikoff.
Support World Wide Words!
Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.
Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select your preferred site and click Go!