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

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 The lunch with Giroux has been amiable enough, but his message about the journal and its prospects is confusing. Benjamin Anastas, The New Yorker, 1 Nov. 2021 The 180-foot yacht has a staggering 1,100 gross tons of living space, elegant design, and an amiable and attentive crew. Kristen Shirley, Travel + Leisure, 24 Oct. 2021 Although she is being groomed to be a diplomat like her mother (Sandra Equihua, Gutierrez’s wife and collaborator), Maya envies her amiable but dim brothers’ (all played by Gael García Bernal) quests and adventures. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 21 Oct. 2021 Many of these encounters between the haves and have-nots are brief and amiable. New York Times, 15 Oct. 2021 At the time, 27-year-old Jeff Gordon was the sport’s amiable, camera-ready star, already a three-time Winston Cup winner. Roy S. Johnson |, al, 6 Oct. 2021 Spending time with puzzle master and magician David Kwong is a bit like hanging out with a dashing and amiable supercomputer programmed to solve the most eccentric problems mankind could dream up for its cognitive amusement. Los Angeles Times, 27 Sep. 2021 Lil Nas X isn’t the most engaging lyricist and he’e a pretty anonymous (if amiable) vocalist. Jon Dolan, Rolling Stone, 17 Sep. 2021 The result is an amiable mix of light comedy, teen angst, medical crises and Hawaiian beauty. Mike Hughes, The Enquirer, 15 Sep. 2021

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

30 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Amiable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on amiable

Nglish: Translation of amiable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of amiable for Arabic Speakers


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