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adjective cor·dial \ˈkȯr-jəl\

Simple Definition of cordial

  • : politely pleasant and friendly

Full Definition of cordial

  1. 1 obsolete :  of or relating to the heart :  vital

  2. 2 :  tending to revive, cheer, or invigorate <bottles full of excellent cordial waters — Daniel Defoe>

  3. 3 a :  sincerely or deeply felt <a cordial dislike for each other> b :  warmly and genially affable <cordial relations>

cor·dial·ly play \ˈkȯrj-lē, ˈkȯr-jə-\ adverb
cor·dial·ness play \ˈkȯr-jəl-nəs\ noun

Examples of cordial

  1. … Conrad Black was cordial and not the least rumbustious. —Calvin Trillin, New Yorker, 17 Dec. 2001

  2. Though its chairman, Charles Obi, was cordial to him, the others made it clear that they didn't want him. —Ishmael Reed, Japanese by Spring, 1993

  3. My reception was cordial enough … —Robert Frost, 7 Jan. 1913, in Selected Letters of Robert Frost, edited by Lawrance Thompson, 1964

  4. Mr. Price now received his daughter; and having given her a cordial hug, and observed that she was grown into a woman … —Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814

  5. We received a cordial greeting from our hostess at the party.

  6. The two nations have maintained cordial relations.

Origin of cordial

Middle English, from Medieval Latin cordialis, from Latin cord-, cor heart — more at heart

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of cordial

gracious, cordial, affable, genial, sociable mean markedly pleasant and easy in social intercourse. gracious implies courtesy and kindly consideration <the gracious award winner thanked her colleagues>. cordial stresses warmth and heartiness <our host was cordial as he greeted us>. affable implies easy approachability and readiness to respond pleasantly to conversation or requests or proposals <though wealthy, she was affable to all>. genial stresses cheerfulness and even joviality <a genial companion with a ready quip>. sociable suggests a genuine liking for the companionship of others <sociable people who enjoy entertaining>.



noun cor·dial \ˈkȯr-jəl\

Simple Definition of cordial

  • : a sweet alcoholic drink

  • : a drink of heavy fruit juice that is mixed with water

Full Definition of cordial

  1. 1 :  a stimulating medicine or drink

  2. 2 :  liqueur

Examples of cordial

  1. It was fortunate that the boys never tested Alyce's magic, for the bottle she shook so fiercely at them was naught but blackberry cordial she was to deliver to Old Anna … —Karen Cushman, The Midwife's Apprentice, 1995

  2. A boy is said to become a man when he can sip the 140-proof anise-seed cordial without wincing. —Paul L. Montgomery, New York Times, 6 Sept. 1965

  3. “In this bottle,” he said, “there is a cordial made of the juice of one of the fire-flowers that grow in the mountains of the sun. If you or any of your friends are hurt, a few drops of this will restore you. —C. S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, 1950

Origin of cordial

(see 1cordial)

First Known Use: 14th century

Other Alcoholic Beverage Terms

CORDIAL Defined for Kids


adjective cor·dial \ˈkȯr-jəl\

Definition of cordial

  1. :  warm and friendly <a cordial host>

cor·dial·ly adverb <You are cordially invited.>

Word Root of cordial

The Latin word cor, meaning “heart,” and its form cordis give us the root cord. Words from the Latin cor have something to do with the heart. When there is discord, or disagreement, hearts are apart. When there is accord, or agreement, hearts have moved together. Anything that is cordial, such as a welcome, comes from the heart.

Medical Dictionary


noun cor·dial \ˈkȯr-jəl\

Medical Definition of cordial

  1. :  an invigorating and stimulating medicine, food, or drink

Seen and Heard

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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