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Joyful and joyous

Joyful is an adjective that means feeling great happiness or causing to feel great happiness and joy. The adverb form is joyfully, the noun form is joyfulness. Joyful appears in the mid-thirteenth century.

Joyous is an adjective that means feeling great happiness or causing to feel great happiness and joy. The adverb form is joyously, the noun form is joyousness. Joyous appears around the turn of the fourteenth century, from the Old French joios meaning happy, cheerful, merry, glad. There is no significant difference between joyful and joyous, though joyful may be slightly more commonly used to describe a person’s state of joy, and joyous may be more commonly used to describe events, things and places.


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Examples

In the gray light of the early fall afternoon, it looked to me like a bright little sun emanating a joyful aura of summer. (The Times of Israel)

Lindsey Graham is a joyful candidate with a bleak campaign message (The Washington Post)

“I remember I really loved its sound, a very joyful, happy sound.” (The Kansas City Star)

The self-described “joyful tortoise” in the race for the GOP presidential nomination is more angry than happy these days. (The Los Angeles Times)

Papal visit concludes with joyous open-air Mass in Philadelphia (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Join Jewish community in celebrating joyous Sukkot festival in Fresno (The Fresno Bee)

From conventional prayers at mosques to the sacrifice ritual, the spirit of sacrifice, piety and brotherhood and family feasts, the mood was joyous in the city. (The International News)

“My heart broke for her constantly during the second season, I care for Long Susan so that would be joyous for me.” (The Irish Examiner)

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