Words related to joy
Transitive meaning "take pleasure in" is mid-15c. In modern use it has a tendency to lose its connection with pleasure: newspaper photo captions say someone enjoys an ice cream cone, etc., when all she is doing is eating it, and Wright's "English Dialect Dictionary" (1900) reports widespread use in north and west England of the phrase to enjoy bad health for one who has ailments. Meaning "have sexual relations with" (a woman) is from 1590s. Related: Enjoyed; enjoys; enjoying. To enjoy oneself "feel pleasure or satisfaction in one's mind" attested by 1708.
Also in Middle English "a jest, prank, trick" (late 14c.); "a deception, fraud, artifice" (mid-14c.). As a verb, "to furnish with gauds," from late 14c. Related: Gauded; gauding; gaudful; gaudless.
Restricted sense of "precious stone, gem" developed in English from early 14c. Figurative meaning "beloved person, admired woman" is late 14c. Colloquial family jewels "testicles" is from 1920s, but jewel as "testicle" dates to late 15c. Jewel-case is from 1753.
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.).