Difference Between Joyous and Joyful

Key Difference – Joyous vs Joyful

Joyous and joyful are two adjectives that have similar meanings. Both these adjectives refer to feelings of joy. Although there is no significant difference between joyous and joyful, joyful is commonly used to describe the state of a person whereas joyous is commonly used to describe an event or a situation. This usage can be taken as the key difference between joyous and joyful.

What Does Joyous Mean?

Joyous refers to a feeling of happiness. Joyous is defined in Merriam-Webster dictionary as “feeling, causing, or showing great happiness.” The Oxford dictionary defines it as “full of happiness and joy.” Joyous is not as commonly used as joyful, and the Oxford dictionary marks it as a literary term. The adverb form of joyous is joyously, and the noun form is joyousness. Joyous is often used to describe events, things, and places.

It was a joyous occasion for all of us.

Christmas is a joyous season.

The band played a joyous melody.

Her joyous laughter rang throughout the room.

Key Difference - Joyous vs Joyful

It was a joyous occasion for the children.

What Does Joyful Mean?

Joyful also has the same meaning as joyous. The Oxford dictionary defines joyful as “feeling, expressing, or causing great pleasure and happiness”. The adverb form of joyful is joyfully, the noun form is joyfulnessJoyful is more commonly used than joyous. It is especially used to describe the state of happiness or joy of a person. For example,

The success of the operation made us joyful.

She was joyful at the news.

She was a happy and joyful girl.

I could never forget the joyful expression on his face.

She has a joyful smile.Difference Between Joyous and Joyful

What is the difference between Joyous and Joyful?

Person vs Places:

Joyous: Joyous is used to describe events, situations, things, and places.

Joyful: Joyful is used to describe the state of happiness in a person.


Joyous: The noun form of joyous is joyousness.

Joyful: The noun form of joyful is joyfulness.


Joyous: The adverb form of joyous is joyously.

Joyful: The adverb form of joyous is joyfully.


Joyous: Joyous is not as much used as joyful.

Joyful: Joyful is more commonly used than joyous.

 Image Courtesy:
“US Navy 050105-N-5376G-019 Indonesian children smile and cheer as U.S. Navy helicopters from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) fly-in purified water and relief supplies to a small village on the Island of Sumatra, Indonesia” U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Benjamin D. Glass – ID 050105-N-5376G-019 (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
“Joyous Reunion” By Marines – ( Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia