Etymology
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jollity (n.)
early 14c., jolyfte, iolite, "merrymaking, revelry," also "agreeableness, attractiveness, beauty, elegance;" from Old French jolivete "gaity, cheerfulness; amorous passion; life of pleasure," from jolif "festive, merry" (see jolly).

From late 14c. as "lightheartedness, cheerfulness." A word with more senses in Middle and early Modern English than recently: "sexual pleasure or indulgence, lust" (mid-14c.); "insolent presumptuousness, impudence" (mid-14c.); "vigor, strength" (mid-14c.); "love; a love affair" (c. 1300, hence in jollity "by fornication, out of wedlock"); "gallantry" (1530s); "state of splendor" (1540s).
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lark (n.2)
"spree, frolic, merry adventure," 1811, slang, of uncertain origin. Possibly a shortening of skylark (1809), sailors' slang for "play rough in the rigging of a ship" (larks were proverbial for high-flying). Or perhaps it is an alteration of English dialectal or colloquial lake/laik "to play, frolic, make sport" (c. 1300, from Old Norse leika "to play," from PIE *leig- (3) "to leap") with unetymological -r- common in southern British dialect. The verb lake, considered characteristic of Northern English vocabulary, is the opposite of work but lacks the other meanings of play. As a verb, from 1813. Related: Larked; larking.
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carousel (n.)

1640s, "tilting match, playful tournament of knights in chariots or on horseback," from French carrousel "a tilting match," from Italian carusiello, possibly from carro "chariot," from Latin carrus "two-wheeled wagon" (see car). The modern meaning "merry-go-round" as an amusement ride is by 1895, though there are suggestions of such a thing earlier:

A new and rare invencon knowne by the name of the royalle carousell or tournament being framed and contrived with such engines as will not only afford great pleasure to us and our nobility in the sight thereof, but sufficient instruction to all such ingenious young gentlemen as desire to learne the art of perfect horsemanshipp. [letter of 1673]
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joker (n.)

1729, "jester, merry fellow, one who jokes," agent noun from joke (v.). In generic slang use for "any man, fellow, chap" by 1811, which probably is the source of the meaning "odd face card in the deck" (1868), also often jolly joker. An 1857 edition of Hoyle's "Games" lists a card game called Black Joke in which all face cards were called jokers.

American manufacturers of playing-cards are wont to include a blank card at the top of the pack; and it is, alas! true that some thrifty person suggested that the card should not be wasted. This was the origin of the joker. ["St. James's Gazette," 1894]
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kite (n.)

European bird of prey, inferior hawk (Milvus ictinus, but applied elsewhere to similar birds), Old English cyta, probably imitative of its cry (compare ciegan "to call," German Kauz "screech owl"). Of persons who prey on others, 1550s.

The toy kite, a light frame covered with paper or cloth, is first so-called 1660s, from its way of hovering in the air like a bird. The dismissive invitation to go fly a kite is attested by 1942, American English, probably tracing to the popular song of the same name (lyrics by Johnny Burke), sung by Bing Crosby in "The Star Maker" (1939):

Go fly a kite and tie your troubles to the tail
They'll be blown away by a merry gale,
Go fly a kite and toss your worries to the wind
And they won't come back, they'll be too chagrined.
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coulrophobia (n.)
"morbid fear of clowns," by 2001 (said in Web sites to date from 1990s or even 1980s), a popular term, not from psychology, possibly facetious, though the phenomenon is real enough; said to be built from Greek kolon "limb," with some supposed sense of "stilt-walker," hence "clown" + -phobia.

Ancient Greek words for "clown" were sklêro-paiktês, from paizein "to play (like a child);" or deikeliktas. Greek also had geloiastes "a jester, buffoon" (from gelao "to laugh, be merry"); there was a khleuastes "jester," but it had more of a sense of "scoffer, mocker," from khleuazo "treat with insolence." Other classical words used for theatrical clowns were related to "rustic," "peasant" (compare Latin fossor "clown," literally "laborer, digger," related to fossil).

Coulrophobia looks suspiciously like the sort of thing idle pseudo-intellectuals invent on the internet and which every smarty-pants takes up thereafter; perhaps it is a mangling of Modern Greek klooun "clown," which is the English word borrowed into Greek.
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spree (n.)

"a frolic, drinking bout," 1804, slang, earliest use in Scottish dialect works, of uncertain origin. Perhaps [Barnhart] an alteration of French esprit "lively wit" (see esprit). According to Klein, Irish spre seems to be a loan-word from Old Norse sprakr. Watkins proposes a possible origin as an alteration of Scots spreath "cattle raid," from Gaelic sprédh, spré, "cattle; wealth," from Middle Irish preit, preid, "booty," ultimately from Latin praeda "plunder, booty" (see prey (n.)).

The splore is a frolic, a merry meeting. In the slang language of the inhabitants of St Giles's, in London, it is called a spree or a go. [Note in "Select Scottish Songs, Ancient and Modern," vol. II, London, 1810]

In Foote's comedy "The Maid of Bath" (1794) the word appears as a Scottish dialect pronunciation of spry: " 'When I intermarried with Sir Launcelot Coldstream, I was en siek a spree lass as yoursel; and the baronet bordering upon his grand climacteric;' " etc.

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crank (n.)

"bent or vertical handle for turning a revolving axis," Old English *cranc, implied in crancstæf "a weaver's instrument," crencestre "female weaver, spinster," which is related to crincan "to bend, yield," from Proto-Germanic *krank- "bend, curl up" (see cringe).

English retains the literal sense of the ancient word ("something bent or crooked"), while in other Germanic languages it tends to have only a figurative sense (German and Dutch krank "sick," formerly "weak, small"). The Continental definition entered into English crank via slang counterfeit crank "one who shams sickness to get charity" (1560s). OED notes that "the 16th c. vagabonds' cant contains words taken directly from Continental languages." It apparently lingered in the north (the 1825 supplement to Jamieson's Scottish dictionary has crank "infirm, weak, etc.") and might have influenced the development of the English word.

Meaning "twist or turn of speech, grotesquery in words" is from 1590s; that of "absurd or unreasonable act" (perhaps caused by "twisted judgment") is from 1848. The sense of "eccentric person," especially one who is irrationally fixated, is first recorded 1833; this sometimes is said to be from the crank of a barrel organ, which makes it play the same tune over and over; but more likely it is a back-formation from cranky (q.v.) and thus from the notion of one having a mental "twist."

The person who adopts "any presentiment, any extravagance as most in nature," is not commonly called a Transcendentalist, but is known colloquially as a "crank." [Oliver W. Holmes, "Ralph Waldo Emerson"]

There also was a crank (adj.) in Middle English meaning "lively, brisk, merry," but it is of uncertain origin and connection. Cranky for "merry, lively" lingered into 19c. in northern England dialects and American English. Meaning "methamphetamine" attested by 1989, from the verb.

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feast (n.)
c. 1200, "secular celebration with feasting and entertainment" (often held on a church holiday); c. 1300, "religious anniversary characterized by rejoicing" (rather than fasting), from Old French feste "religious festival, holy day; holiday; market, fair; noise, racket; jest, fun" (12c., Modern French fête), from Vulgar Latin *festa (fem. singular; also source of Italian festa, Spanish fiesta), from Latin festa "holidays, feasts, festal banquets," noun use of neuter plural of festus "festive, joyful, merry," related to feriae "holiday" and fanum "temple," from Proto-Italic *fasno- "temple," from PIE *dhis-no- "divine, holy; consecrated place," suffixed form of PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts.

The spelling -ea- was used in Middle English to represent the sound we mis-call "long e." Meaning "abundant meal" (whether public or private) is by late 14c. Meaning "any enjoyable occasion or event" is from late 14c.
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oyster (n.)

"edible bivalve mollusk of the family Ostreidæ," late 13c., oistre, from Old French oistre, uistre (Modern French huître) and directly from Latin ostrea, plural or fem. of ostreum "oyster," from Greek ostreon, from PIE root *ost- "bone." It is thus related to Greek ostrakon "a hard shell" and to osteon "a bone." The h- in the modern French word is a regular development; compare huile "oil" (Latin oleum), huit "eight" (Latin octo).

Why then the world's mine Oyster, which I, with sword will open. [Shakespeare, "The Merry Wives of Windsor," II.ii.2]

Oyster-bed "place where oysters breed or are bred" is from c. 1600; oyster-knife, used for opening oysters, is recorded from 1690s. Oysterman "man engaged in rearing, taking, or selling oysters" is attested from 1550s. The common statement that edible oysters are in season only in months that end in -r is recorded by 1765.

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