Word: mirth

Pronunciation: mərth

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: amusement, especially as expressed in laughter

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

The holiday season is in full swing once again, so what better vocabulary word to learn today than one related to joy? As fiction writers, we should always be equipped with a full arsenal of emotional words, but when our stories are set in happy times with plenty of amusement to go around, words like “laughter” and “cheerful” can become overused. It never hurts to know more positive and simple vocabulary, so instead of having your characters “laugh with joy” or “giggle with amusement”, why not sum up their excitement with a word like “mirth”?

“Mirth” is an expression of amusement, especially through laughter. The word comes from the Old English noun myrgth “mirth” and is Germanic in origin. This noun derives from the adjective mirige, meaning “pleasant” or “enjoyable”.

The word “mirth” shares its origin with the word “merry”, which also derives from the Old English adjective mirige. On the happiness spectrum, “mirth” generally refers to joy or amusement as expressed through laughter, as does its adjective form “mirthful”, so these may be good substitutes to turn to if you find yourself overusing the verb “laugh” and its synonyms. If you write jolly characters who often express their amusement out loud, “mirth” is a great word to include in your stories!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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