adjective con·ge·nial \ kən-ˈjē-nē-əl , -ˈjēn-yəl \
|Updated on: 10 Jul 2018

Definition of congenial

1 a : pleasant; especially : agreeably suited to one's nature, tastes, or outlook
  • a congenial atmosphere
b : sociable, genial
  • a congenial host
c : existing or associated together harmoniously
2 : having the same nature, disposition, or tastes : kindred
  • congenial companions


play \kən-ˌjē-nē-ˈa-lə-tē, -ˌjēn-ˈya-\ noun


play \kən-ˈjē-nē-ə-lē, -ˈjēn-yə-\ adverb

congenial was our Word of the Day on 02/22/2011. Hear the podcast!

Examples of congenial in a Sentence

  1. She moved on, leaving behind the world of politics for the more congenial sphere of the arts. —Amy Fine CollinsVanity FairMarch 2001
  2. Jackson may walk up to home plate with the cool strut of a superstar, but off the field he is warm and congenial. —Peter GammonsSports Illustrated12 June 1989
  3. It turned out to be, for me, one of the most congenial and, in a way, lustrous gatherings that I have ever had in the White House. —Lady Bird Johnson 4 May 1965, in A White House Diary1970
  4. The town is a congenial place for raising children.

  5. We studied in the congenial atmosphere of the library.

  6. He found the work to be congenial.

  7. She was congenial and easygoing.

Recent Examples of congenial from the Web

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

The History of congenial is Spiritual

According to ancient Roman and Greek mythology, each person at birth was assigned a guardian spirit. The Latin name for this attendant spirit was genius. Two people who get along well together can be thought of as sharing a similar spirit; they might even be described by a word combining the Latin prefix com- (meaning "with, together") and genius. And, indeed, it was this com-genius combination that gave rise in the 17th century to the English word congenial. (The Greek word for the guardian spirit, daimōn, gave us eudaemonia, meaning "well-being" or "happiness," but that word is extremely rare.)

Origin and Etymology of congenial

com- + genius

congenial Synonyms

CONGENIAL Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of congenial for English Language Learners

  • : suitable or appropriate

  • : pleasant and enjoyable

  • : very friendly

CONGENIAL Defined for Kids


adjective con·ge·nial \ kən-ˈjē-nyəl \

Definition of congenial for Students

1 : alike or sympathetic in nature, disposition, or tastes
2 : existing together in harmony
  • “We are quite as congenial as flies and honey.”
  • —L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz
3 : tending to please or satisfy
  • congenial work
4 : friendly 1

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