What with a pandemic & people losing their lives & most of us sheltering in place, it's fair that it may be tough using the word happy, so this week we’ll ponder some happiness synonyms gleaned mostly through surfing of the synonym sections in my 1959 Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language.
Most modern English speakers embrace the second meaning of happiness:
the state of pleasurable content of mind which results in success or the attainment of what is considered good.
Its synonyms reflect these shades of meaning:
gladness, implies a very exultant feeling of joy
cheerfulness, suggests a steady display of bright spirits or optimism
joy, implies great elation expressed in demonstrative happiness, with
joyousness suggesting a matter of usual temperament
& joyfulness having been caused by a temporal event.
pleasure is an agreeable feeling of satisfaction
delight suggests a high degree of obvious pleasure, openly & enthusiastically expressed
enjoyment implies a quieter feeling of satisfaction
Though it wars with the sensibilities of the modern speakers, the first meaning of happiness in most dictionaries is good fortune or luck in life or in a particular affair; success, prosperity.
Lucky implies a favorable or advantageous occurrence, unexpectedly & by chance. Lucky’s synonyms include:
fortunate, used for more serious matters of unexpected fortuity.
propitious means full of promise, good or favorable
auspicious suggests something good and encouraging
felicitous suggests an appropriate or suitable fit
providential suggests the intervention of God or some higher entity in bringing about favorable circumstances
Good readers, though the word happy might not appropriately describe recent events, do any of these other words apply to an experience you had this week?
My thanks go out to this week’s sources: OED, Etymonline, & Wordnik,& the 1959 Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language
I write for teens, narrate audio books, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.
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