ami·​a·​ble | \ ˈā-mē-ə-bəl How to pronounce amiable (audio) \

Definition of amiable

1a : friendly, sociable, and congenial an amiable host amiable neighbors
b : generally agreeable an amiable comedy
2 archaic : pleasing, admirable

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Other Words from amiable

amiability \ ˌā-​mē-​ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce amiability (audio) \ noun
amiableness \ ˈā-​mē-​ə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce amiableness (audio) \ noun
amiably \ ˈā-​mē-​ə-​blē How to pronounce amiably (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for amiable

amiable, good-natured, obliging, complaisant mean having the desire or disposition to please. amiable implies having qualities that make one liked and easy to deal with. an amiable teacher not easily annoyed good-natured implies cheerfulness or helpfulness and sometimes a willingness to be imposed upon. a good-natured girl who was always willing to pitch in obliging stresses a friendly readiness to be helpful. our obliging innkeeper found us a bigger room complaisant often implies passivity or a yielding to others because of weakness. was too complaisant to protest a decision he thought unfair

The Roots of Amiable Go Back to Love

Amiable derives from the Late Latin adjective amicabilis, meaning "friendly," which in turn comes from the Latin word for "friend" and can ultimately be traced back to amare, meaning "to love." When amiable was adopted into English in the 14th century, it meant "pleasing" or "admirable," but that sense is now obsolete. The current, familiar senses of "generally agreeable" ("an amiable movie") and "friendly and sociable" came centuries later. Amare has also given English speakers such words as amative and amorous (both meaning "strongly moved by love"), amour ("a usually illicit love affair"), and even amateur (which originally meant "admirer").

Examples of amiable in a Sentence

… an amiable man, a gray-headed, fiftyish, good old boy with a long career in media and public relations, and a hellish taste for margaritas … — Denis Johnson, Rolling Stone, 17 Aug. 2000 These strained plot contortions aren't really necessary: the funny, amiable heart of the movie is in the scenes of these tough old duffers scamming their way through the training program. — David Ansen, Newsweek, 14 Aug. 2000 The book pivots around Molly Bonner, an amiable, 40-ish woman whose second husband has just died in a helicopter accident, leaving her grief-struck and rich. — Tad Friend, Vogue, March 1997 Gianni Versace is an amiable smoothy with a light touch and a corona of gray hair. — Marie Brenner, Vanity Fair, January 1997 Everyone knew him as an amiable fellow. She had an amiable conversation with her friend.
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Recent Examples on the Web Find an amiable companion for an errand, job or project who will lighten your burden as well as your spirits. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Oct. 19, 2020: Virgo, make a good impression; Pisces, enjoy romantic connection," 19 Oct. 2020 Despite his very real affection for his mother-in-law, Lee found his father-in-law an amiable but annoying dunce. Allen C. Guelzo, National Review, "The Mystery of Robert E. Lee," 17 Sep. 2020 This is not a time for amiable people who get along with everyone. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "The Biden Adviser Who Gives Climate Activists Nightmares," 15 Sep. 2020 The 2016 recording captured a much more amiable Zucker who floated the idea of Trump hosting a show on his network. Jeremy Barr, Washington Post, "What’s up with Tucker Carlson’s leaked tapes of Michael Cohen’s secret CNN conversations?," 10 Sep. 2020 The amiable brewer at Brick and Barrel, the five-year old brewery in Cleveland, is adding wine to his repertoire. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Brick and Barrel brewery adding winemaking to production soon," 8 Sep. 2020 Berkman proved to be a shortish fellow with disconcertingly bushy muttonchops and a joshing, amiable demeanor. Lawrence Weschler, The Atlantic, "The Uncanny Tale of Shimmel Zohar," 7 Sep. 2020 The amiable Cormier, who has found his niche as a successful broadcaster, has vowed to retire after Saturday and end a career in which 10 of his last 11 fights were fought with a championship on the line. Mark Heim |, al, "UFC 252 live stream (8/15) options, including ESPN+: How to watch Miocic vs Cormier online, time, card," 15 Aug. 2020 Dog walkers shouldn’t assume everyone is amiable to dogs. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Rules to dog walk by," 29 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'amiable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of amiable

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for amiable

Middle English amyable, borrowed from Anglo-French amiable, going back to Late Latin amīcābilis, from Latin amīcus "personal friend, lover, friend in public life, partisan" or amīcāre "to make friendly to oneself, propitiate" (derivative of amīcus) + -bilis "capable (of acting) or worthy (of being acted upon)"; Latin amīcus, noun derivative of amīcus, adjective, "friendly, well-disposed, loving, devoted," derivative of amāre "to feel affection for, love" — more at amateur, -able

Note: A predecessor *ama-ikos, from a stative verb *ama-ē-, is suggested by P. Schrijver (The Reflexes of the Proto-Indo-European Laryngeals in Latin, Rodopi, 1991, p. 399), following a proposal by D. Steinbauer (Etymologische Untersuchungen zu den bei Plautus belegten Verben der lateinischen ersten Konjugation, Altendorf, 1989, pp. 131-32). This would seem to be supported by the inscriptional form ameicus (unless it is an inverted spelling) and the form amecus cited by the grammarian Sextus Pompeius Festus. M. Weiss, on the other hand, proposes a "deinstrumental" origin from an adverbial base *amī- "with love," in Indo-European terms *h2m̥h3ih1- (see Outline of the Historical and Comparative Grammar of Latin, Ann Arbor, 2009, p. 296).

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The first known use of amiable was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Amiable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for amiable


How to pronounce amiable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of amiable

: friendly and pleasant


ami·​a·​ble | \ ˈā-mē-ə-bəl How to pronounce amiable (audio) \

Kids Definition of amiable

: having a friendly and pleasant manner

Other Words from amiable

amiably \ -​blē \ adverb She greeted us amiably.

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