Merry

The original meaning is not mirthful, but active, famous; hence gallant soldiers were called “merry men;” favourable weather, “merry weather;” brisk wind, “a merry gale;” London was “merry London;” England, “merry England;” Chaucer speaks of the “merry organ at the mass;” Jane Shore is called by Pennant the “merry concubine of Edward IV.” (Anglo-Saxon, mara, illustrious, great, mighty, etc.). (See Merry-Men.)

'Tis merry in hall, when beards wag all
(2 Henry IV., act v. 3). It is a sure sign of mirth when the beards of the guests shake with laughter.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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