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April 15, 2022

Gleeful /glee·ful / adj.

Definition: We use the word gleeful in the English language as an adjective to describe a happy or joyous state of being. Gleeful is an Old English word derived from the noun glee. It means to be “full of glee” and happiness. A gleeful person appears to others as cheerful, happy, and excited. They are often smiling and seen as friendly.

Etymology: We find the first use of the word gleeful in Old English. People began using the word in 1580. Etymologists say gleeful relates to the Old English words gliu and gliw. Old English speakers used these words interchangeably to represent entertainment, jest, and music. 

People created the term gleeful by combining the words glee and full. Glee is an Old English noun used in popular poetry of the time. Full is found in 15th century German, Old Norse, and Danish, meaning “full of,” “having,” or “characterized by.”

In a Sentence

The sports fan let out a gleeful cheer when their team scored the winning point.

The little boy was gleeful when his family arrived at the entrance to Disney World.


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