af·​fa·​ble ˈa-fə-bəl How to pronounce affable (audio)
: being pleasant and at ease in talking to others
an affable host
: characterized by ease and friendliness
an affable manner
affability noun

Did you know?

Affable comes from Latin affārī, meaning "to speak to." Other fārī relatives—the word itself means "to speak"—are infant, fable, and fate, among others.

Did you know?

The Gender of an affable Personality?

One of the peculiarities of the English language is that ungendered words (especially nouns) may occasionally take gendered pronouns or modifiers. A ship, for example, is often called "she." We also find that some general-purpose words (especially adjectives) tend to be used of one sex rather than the other. Such is the case with affable, which our records show is far more likely to be used to describe a man than a woman. This should not be taken as evidence that men are friendlier or easier to speak with (nor should you shy away from describing a woman as affable), but it does serve to illustrate the manner in which the word is often used.

Choose the Right Synonym for affable

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

Examples of affable in a Sentence

Bertie's a bright, affable fellow, but every little success he has feels cheapened in comparison with his dad's overpowering accomplishments. Lev Grossman, Time, 7 Feb. 2005
In repose, he can be affable and quite funny. But woe betide anyone who crosses him or who fails to perform to his demanding standards. Anthony Bianco et al., Business Week, 9 Sept. 2002
The owner emerged from a galley kitchen … to explain that the restaurant was supposed to be closed. This roly-poly man with graying locks above a noble, high forehead was affable and articulate, not your average short-order cook. John Krich, San Francisco Examiner, 21 Aug. 1994
a lively, affable young fellow as the show's affable host, she keeps the freewheeling gabfest from getting out of hand
Recent Examples on the Web While the tenor Joseph Dennis is affable in the role, his chemistry with D’Angelo is nil. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 29 Oct. 2023 Massa, the current economy minister, is a smooth and affable chameleon-like figure with a three-decades-long career in politics. David Unsworth, Fox News, 17 Nov. 2023 His success with hit series like Downtown Abbey and The Crown, blockbusters like The King’s Man and Leap Year, and cult films like Match Point and Stoker has not affected the actor’s open and affable attitude. Clara Laguna, Condé Nast Traveler, 14 Nov. 2023 Dracula: The Quintessential Vampire Dracula, a centuries-old vampire, was portrayed by Bela Lugosi as a charismatic and affable nobleman. Manuel Canales, Washington Post, 28 Oct. 2023 Most of the time, though, Baker was even-keeled, affable and recognized as a player’s manager. Steve Henson, Los Angeles Times, 26 Oct. 2023 Cornwell is a compelling and affable fellow, well educated and eloquent, who speaks openly of everything but his love life. Peter Debruge, Variety, 20 Oct. 2023 The bad guys in the movie are also some of the most likable and affable guys. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Oct. 2023 It was hosted by the charming and affable Penélope Menchaca and its Walter Mercado-equivalent, astrologist Edward’O, with occasional co-host Maximiliano Palacio. Allison Argueta-Claros, Los Angeles Times, 27 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'affable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English affabyl, borrowed from Anglo-French affable, borrowed from Latin affābilis, from affārī "to speak to, address" (from ad- ad- + fārī "to speak") + -bilis "capable of (being acted upon)" — more at ban entry 1, -able

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of affable was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near affable

Cite this Entry

“Affable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


af·​fa·​ble ˈaf-ə-bəl How to pronounce affable (audio)
: being at ease and pleasant especially in conversation
an affable host
affability noun
affably adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on affable

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