Etymology
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mirthful (adj.)

early 14c., "delightful," from mirth + -ful. Related: Mirthfully; mirthfulness.

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merriment (n.)

1570s, "comedic or mirthful entertainment," from from obsolete verb merry "be happy; make happy" (Old English myrgan; see merry (adj.)) + -ment. General sense of "state of being merry, mirth" is from 1580s.

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fun (n.)

"diversion, amusement, mirthful sport," 1727, earlier "a cheat, trick" (c. 1700), from verb fun (1680s) "to cheat, hoax," which is of uncertain origin, probably a variant of Middle English fonnen "befool" (c. 1400; see fond). Scantly recorded in 18c. and stigmatized by Johnson as "a low cant word." Older senses are preserved in phrase to make fun of (1737) and funny money "counterfeit bills" (1938, though this use of the word may be more for the sake of the rhyme). See also funny. Fun and games "mirthful carryings-on" is from 1906.

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merrymaking (n.)

also merry-making, "a convivial entertainment, a mirthful festival," 1714, from an inversion of the verbal phrase make merry "be happy, be cheerful, be joyous, frolic" (late 14c.); see make (v.) + merry (adj.). The earlier noun was merry-make (1570s). Related: Merry-maker (1827).

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saturnalia (n.)

1590s, "time of merrymaking," from Latin Saturnalia, the ancient Roman festivals of Saturn (held in December), a time of feasting and mirthful license for all classes, even slaves; neuter plural of the adjective Saturnalis "pertaining to Saturn," from Saturnus (see Saturn). They correspond to the Greek Kronia.

The extended sense of "period of wild or noisy revelry" is attested by 1782. Related: Saturnalian.

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festive (adj.)

1650s, "pertaining to a feast," from Latin festivus "festive, joyous, gay," from festum "festival, holiday," noun use of neuter of adjective festus "joyful, merry" (see feast (n.)). The word is unattested in English from 1651 to 1735 (it reappears in a poem by William Somervile, with the sense "fond of feasting, jovial"), and the modern use may be a back-formation from festivity. Meaning "mirthful, joyous" in English is attested by 1774. Related: Festively; festiveness.

When the Day crown'd with rural, chaste Delight
Resigns obsequious to the festive Night;
The festive Night awakes th' harmonious Lay,
And in sweet Verse recounts the Triumphs of the Day.
[Somervile, "The Chace"]

Earlier adjectives in English based on the Latin word were festival "pertaining to a church feast" (late 14c.); festful "joyous" (early 15c.), festial "pertaining to a church feast" (early 15c.), festli "fond of festivity" (late 14c.).

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shoot (v.)

Middle English sheten "hasten from place to place; move swiftly; thrust forward; discharge a missile, send an arrow from a bow," from Old English sceotan (class II strong verb; past tense sceat, past participle scoten), "dart forth, go swiftly and suddenly," also "discharge (a missile or weapon);" also, of a person, "go suddenly from place to place;" also transitive "send out or forth with sudden or violent motion; put forth or extend in any direction; strike with anything shot."

This is from Proto-Germanic *skeutanan (source also of Old Saxon skiotan, Old Norse skjota "to shoot with (a weapon); shoot, launch, push, shove quickly," Old Frisian skiata, Middle Dutch skieten, Dutch schieten, Old High German skiozan, German schießen), often said to be from PIE root *skeud- "to shoot, chase, throw," but Boutkan gives it no IE etymology.

The sense of "dart along" (as pain through the nerves or a meteor in the sky) is by late 13c.; that of "come forth" (as a plant) is by late 15c. As "increase rapidly, grow quickly" by 1530s (often with up (adv.)). By 1690s as "be emitted in rays or flashes" (as light is); by 1530s in weaving, "variegate by interspersing colors."

The general sports sense of "kick, hit, throw etc. toward the goal" is by 1874. In reference to pool playing, by 1926. The meaning "strive (for)" is by 1967, American English. The sense of "descend (a river) quickly" is from 1610s. The slang meaning "to inject by means of a hypodermic needle" is attested by 1914 among addicts. The meaning "to photograph" (especially a movie) is from 1890.

As an interjection, an arbitrary euphemistic alteration of shit, it is recorded by 1934.

Shoot the breeze "chat" is attested by 1938 (as shooting the breeze), perhaps originally U.S. military slang. Shoot to kill is attested from 1867. Slang shoot the cat "vomit" is from 1785.

To shoot the moon formerly meant "depart by night with ones goods to escape back rent" (c. 1823).

O, 'tis cash makes such crowds to the gin shops roam,
And 'tis cash often causes a rumpus at home ;
'Tis when short of cash people oft shoot the moon ;
And 'tis cash always keeps our pipes in tune.
Cash! cash! &c.
["The Melodist and Mirthful Olio, An Elegant Collection of the Most Popular Songs," vol. IV, London, 1829]

Shoot against the moon was used by Massinger  (1634) as a figure of an impossible attempt.

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