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 amiable (audio) \ noun
amiableness \ ˈā-​mē-​ə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce amiable (audio) \ noun
amiably \ ˈā-​mē-​ə-​blē How to pronounce amiable (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 Before long, Shroomery had an amiable rival in Joanna Steinhardt, Wired, "Hackers, Mason Jars, and the Psychedelic Science of DIY Shrooms," 12 Feb. 2021 You could be passionately involved in accomplishing something in tandem with an amiable partner. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Feb. 8, 2021: Happy birthday Seth Green; Aquarius, keep an open mind," 8 Feb. 2021 Lee spent the 1970s fine-tuning his public persona as an amiable, all-knowing guide to comics. Jillian Steinhauer, The New Republic, "The Unheroic Life of Stan Lee," 9 Feb. 2021 Recognized for his intelligence and amiable manner, Revels was elected to his first political office as an alderman in 1868. New York Times, "Raphael Warnock and the Solitude of the Black Senator," 20 Jan. 2021 Flashing his signature smile beneath a crisp, new Mets cap, the amiable Lindor spoke to reporters for about 30 minutes, promising to bring the full Francisco Lindor experience to his new team. New York Times, "Francisco Lindor Talks Mets, Pizza and Contract Extensions," 11 Jan. 2021 The amiable Ms Ardern was re-elected with a majority in a country where such things are almost unheard of. The Economist, "Which is The Economist’s country of the year?," 16 Dec. 2020 The two women would go on to have an amiable friendship, one captured in the Emmy-winning TV series Fosse/Verdon. Stuart Emmrich, Vogue, "Ann Reinking, Luminous Broadway Star and Fosse Muse, Dies at 71," 15 Dec. 2020 Perry, who perpetually conveys a kind of amiable nonchalance, had a muted response to the news that Johnson plans to challenge him. Gilbert Garcia,, "Garcia: Conservative Clayton Perry draws a serious challenger in council race," 12 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for amiable

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

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Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Amiable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for amiable



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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