con·​ge·​nial | \kən-ˈjē-nē-əl, -ˈjēn-yəl\

Definition of congenial 

1a : 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

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Other Words from congenial

congeniality \ kən-​ˌjē-​nē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē , -​ˌjēn-​ˈya-​ \ noun
congenially \ kən-​ˈjē-​nē-​ə-​lē , -​ˈjēn-​yə-​ \ adverb

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.)

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Despite the property's illustrious past—it was built in 1864 as a summer house for a member of the royal court—Beauchemin and De Laat have transformed the palatial space into a cozy and congenial abode. Gisela Williams, ELLE Decor, "Going Dutch," 15 May 2012 The service at Oskar’s is tableside and as casual and congenial as the atmosphere. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "Oskar's fills a food void in Louisville we didn't know we had | Review," 4 July 2018 White House officials insisted the encounters were congenial. New York Times, "Trump’s Blasts Upend G-7, Alienating Oldest Allies," 9 June 2018 Salvini’s League and the 5 Star Movement—are anything but congenial. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Why Italy Dares to Turn Away Refugees," 18 June 2018 Most servers, however, are kind and congenial, and co-owner Mulgeci is a steadying hand. Kate Washington, sacbee, "It's not flashy or splashy, but Roseville's Ciao excels at cooking classic Italian," 8 June 2018 Her observations revealed that the most congenial operating rooms were made up of mostly women. Katie Langin, Science | AAAS, "Yelling, cursing less likely to break out in operating rooms when female surgeons are present," 2 July 2018 Hewlett achieved notoriety’s more congenial cousin, fame, carving out for himself the best career a black attorney could hope for in 19th-century Washington. John Kelly, Washington Post, "D.C. law said African Americans could eat anywhere. The reality was different.," 13 Feb. 2018 Eighty-year-old Stelios Spiliadis, proud Greek-American and civic-minded Baltimorean, philosopher, acclaimed restaurateur and congenial raconteur, was angry. Dan Rodricks,, "Rodricks: This restaurateur has something for the man who stole from him: a job," 2 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of congenial

circa 1625, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for congenial

com- + genius

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Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for congenial

The first known use of congenial was circa 1625

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More Definitions for congenial



English Language Learners Definition of congenial

: suitable or appropriate

: pleasant and enjoyable

: very friendly


con·​ge·​nial | \kən-ˈjē-nyəl \

Kids Definition of congenial

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

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