I happened to catch a TV ad for the Illinois Lottery’s holiday campaign, entitled “Joy Someone”. My first thought: Is this a new sense of the verb joy? I knew the intransitive sense of “rejoice; take joy in,” but this transitive sense was new to me.

Well, I no longer have access to the OED Online (darn you, alma mater!), but I can at least see free dictionaries, and lo and behold, I found:

v.tr. Archaic
1. To fill with ecstatic happiness, pleasure, or satisfaction.
2. To enjoy.

So the sense of “to make joyful” is there, but it is mostly obsolete. I am skeptical that the creators of the ad knew this, opting instead just to use this existing intransitive sense of the verb form (which I think is rare, although I could be wrong) and use it transitively. (Linguists: Is there a term for using an otherwise intransitive verb in a transitive sense?)

But at least there is precedent for it, and that makes my inner grammar snob feel better.

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