late 14c. (c. 1200 as a surname), "riotous merry-making," also an occasion of this, from Old French revel, resvel "entertainment, revelry," verbal noun from reveler, also rebeller (14c.) "be disorderly, make merry" (see rebel (adj.)). "The development of sense in OF. is 'rebellion, tumult, disturbance, noisy mirth'" [OED].
Formerly especially a kind of dance or performance given in connection with masks or pageants, a dancing procession (usually revels). Related: revel-rout "riotous throng."
1580s, "under the influence of the planet Jupiter," from French jovial (16c.), from Italian joviale, literally "pertaining to Jupiter," and directly from Late Latin Iovialis "of Jupiter," from Latin Iovius (used as genitive of Iuppiter) "of or pertaining to Jupiter," Roman god of the sky (see Jove). The meaning "good-humored, merry," is from the astrological belief that those born under the sign of the planet Jupiter are of such dispositions. Related: Jovially.
mid-15c., "showy, finely dressed; gay, merry," from Old French galant "courteous," earlier "amusing, entertaining; lively, bold" (14c.), present participle of galer "rejoice, make merry," which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps from a Latinized verb formed from Frankish *wala- "good, well," from Proto-Germanic *wal- (source also of Old High German wallon "to wander, go on a pilgrimage"), from PIE root *wel- (2) "to wish, will" (see will (v.)), "but the transition of sense offers difficulties that are not fully cleared up" [OED]. Sense of "politely attentive to women" was adopted early 17c. from French. Attempts to distinguish this sense by accent are an 18c. artifice.
c. 1300 (late 13c. as a surname, late 14c. as the name of a dog), "merry, cheerful, naturally of a happy disposition; comical; suggesting joy or merriment," from Old French jolif "festive, merry; amorous; pretty" (12c., Modern French joli "pretty, nice"), a word of uncertain origin. It has an apparent cognate in Italian giulivo "merry, pleasant."
It is often suggested that the word is ultimately Germanic, from a source akin to Old Norse jol "a winter feast" (see yule). OED, however, finds this "extremely doubtful," based on "historic and phonetic difficulties." Perhaps the French word is from Latin gaudere "to rejoice," from PIE *gau- "to rejoice" (see joy).
Meaning "great, remarkable, uncommon" is from 1540s, hence its use as a general intensifier in expressions of admiration. Colloquial meaning "somewhat drunk" is from 1650s. As an adverb from early 15c., "stoutly, boldly." For loss of -f, compare tardy, hasty. Related: Jolliness. Broader Middle English senses, mostly now lost, include "vigorous, strong, youthful" (c. 1300); "amorous; lecherous; ready to mate; in heat" (c. 1300); "pleasing, beautiful, handsome; noble-looking; handsomely dressed" (c. 1300); playful, frisky (mid-14c.); "arrogant, overweening, foolish" (mid-14c.).
early 13c., "joyful, merry;" late 14c., "full of healthy vigor," from lust (n.) + -y (2). Used of handsome dress, fine weather, good food, pleasing language, it largely escaped the Christianization and denigration of the noun in English. The sense of "full of desire" is attested from c. 1400 but seems to have remained secondary. Related: Lustily; lustiness.
Who would linger by the fire, nor from toil an hour snatch
When villages play football in a merry monster match;
E'en a mere ale-drinking Saxon feels some fervour in his soul
As he watches and bets glasses on a drop-kick at the goal.
[from "A Lay of English Field Sports," by "Colonel Chasse," in The Sporting Review, June 1849]
"waggish, deliberately facetious, comical," 1620s, from French drôle "odd, comical, funny" (1580s), in French a noun, drolle, draule, meaning "a merry fellow, buffoon," possibly from Middle Dutch drol "fat little fellow, goblin," or Middle High German trolle "clown," ultimately from Old Norse troll "giant, troll" (see troll (n.)). Related: Drolly; drollish.
"entertain (someone) splendidly," 1650s, from French régaler "to entertain or feast," from Old French regale, rigale, from gale "merriment," from galer "make merry" (see gallant (adj.)). Influenced in Old French by se rigoler "amuse oneself, rejoice," a word of unknown origin. Italian regalo is from French. Originally of food and drink; by 1670s in reference to what pleases or delights the mind. Related: Regaled; regaling.
"risk something of value on a game of chance," 1726 (implied in gambling), from a dialectal survival of Middle English gammlen, variant of gamenen "to play, jest, be merry," from Old English gamenian "to play, joke, pun," from gamen (see game (n.)), with form as in fumble, etc. Or possibly gamble is from a derivative of gamel "to play games" (1590s), itself likely a frequentative from game. Originally regarded as a slang word. The unetymological -b- may be from confusion with unrelated gambol (v.). Transitive meaning "to squander in gambling" is from 1808. Related: Gambled; gambling.