am·​i·​ty | \ˈa-mə-tē \
plural amities

Definition of amity 

: friendship especially : friendly relations between nations an era of international amity

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The Long History of Amity

Amity has been used in English to describe friendship or friendliness for well over 500 years. It is derived from the Latin word for "friend," amicus, and has come to be used especially for relationships between political leaders and nations in which goodwill is shown despite differences that might exist between the two parties. Amicus is also the root of the adjectives amiable and amicable. Amiable implies having qualities that make one liked and easy to deal with—for example, "The owners of the bed-and-breakfast were very amiable." Amicable is closer in meaning to amity: it implies friendliness and politeness with the desire to avoid disagreement and argument. A relationship between coworkers might be described as amicable. Other family members of amicus are the Spanish borrowing amigo ("friend") and the antonymous enemy, which developed from the Latin combination of the prefix in- ("not") with amicus.

Examples of amity in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The American-Russian amity that underpinned their work has gone. The Economist, "North Korea presents nuclear disarmament’s biggest challenge yet," 5 July 2018 Despite Trump and Macron's embarrassing performance of amity, Macron shifted tone later in the week. Beatrice Dupuy, Teen Vogue, "Emmanuel Macron's Visit With President Donald Trump Was Full of Awkward Moments," 26 Apr. 2018 Would Pyongyang show the same amity if the U.S. one day pulled out of South Korea? Chicago Tribune,, "Korean unity at Olympics: A quick feel-good moment?," 23 Jan. 2018 The Senate Intelligence Committee has managed to maintain more amity between members. Abigail Tracy, The Hive, "Why Robert Mueller May Be the Last Hope to Link Trumpworld to Russia," 23 Oct. 2017 Such shows of cross-party amity in Washington have grown rare. The Economist, "Washington adulteryCan Donald Trump work with Democrats?," 14 Sep. 2017 Various theories have been adduced for this gesture: genuine amity, a vestige of courtliness, too much lunch, or the possibility that the President is afraid of stairs. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Theresa May’s American Adventure," 4 Feb. 2017 See More About Amity: Going for state record fifth straight title. Hartford Courant,, "Previewing Saturday's High School Championships," 9 June 2017 But by then amity, bipartisanship and eco-consciousness had met their limits. Michael Dresser,, "Hogan signs bill to beef up comptroller's income tax enforcement powers," 5 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'amity.' 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 amity

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for amity

Middle English amite, from Anglo-French amyté, from Medieval Latin amicitas, from Latin amicus friend — more at amiable

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The first known use of amity was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of amity

: a feeling of friendship : friendly relations between nations or groups


am·​i·​ty | \ˈa-mə-tē \

Kids Definition of amity

: a feeling of friendship amity between nations

More from Merriam-Webster on amity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for amity

Britannica English: Translation of amity for Arabic Speakers

Comments on amity

What made you want to look up amity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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