con·​ge·​nial kən-ˈjē-nē-əl How to pronounce congenial (audio)
: pleasant
especially : agreeably suited to one's nature, tastes, or outlook
a congenial atmosphere
: sociable, genial
a congenial host
: existing or associated together harmoniously
: having the same nature, disposition, or tastes : kindred
congenial companions
congenially adverb

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The History of Congenial Is Spiritual

According to ancient 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—in English congenial.

Examples of congenial in a Sentence

She moved on, leaving behind the world of politics for the more congenial sphere of the arts. Amy Fine Collins, Vanity Fair, March 2001
Jackson may walk up to home plate with the cool strut of a superstar, but off the field he is warm and congenial. Peter Gammons, Sports Illustrated, 12 June 1989
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
The town is a congenial place for raising children. We studied in the congenial atmosphere of the library. He found the work to be congenial. She was congenial and easygoing. See More
Recent Examples on the Web First came construction of the congenial Billy Wilder Theater, home to the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 18 Oct. 2023 Lloyd Austin, the congenial and low-profile Secretary of Defense, has overseen the military relationship with Kyiv. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 9 Oct. 2023 Defensive woes threaten to derail USC’s title aspirations Oct. 1, 2023 The impassioned defense was a departure from the mild-mannered safety’s usual, congenial tone – and from the usual, boilerplate explanations for USC’s defensive decline. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, 4 Oct. 2023 The goal of the Italian film distribution fund is to push local producers to make more movies that are congenial for play on foreign markets, including through co-productions that allow film producers to share risk. Anna Marie De La Fuente, Variety, 28 Sep. 2023 The host, known for his warm and congenial presence onscreen, was acting especially dismissive and irritable during production meetings, a former longtime employee tells Rolling Stone. Krystie Lee Yandoli, Rolling Stone, 7 Sep. 2023 Invariably, folks have described their brushes with fame as extremely positive ones, as McConaughey has greeted the public in a relaxed and congenial way. Mary Colurso |, al, 14 July 2023 For all the offenses of his prose, Ainsworth is a congenial, buoyant fellow in Smith’s novel. Ron Charles, Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2023 Their congenial, almost school-boyish, air and prickly banter initially evoke Netflix’s popular YA drama Heartstopper. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'congenial.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


com- + genius

First Known Use

circa 1625, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of congenial was circa 1625


Dictionary Entries Near congenial

Cite this Entry

“Congenial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


con·​ge·​nial kən-ˈjē-nyəl How to pronounce congenial (audio)
: having the same disposition, interests, or tastes
: suited to one's nature or tastes : agreeable
congenially adverb

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