con·​ge·​nial | \ kən-ˈjē-nē-əl How to pronounce congenial (audio) , -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

congenially \ kən-​ˈjē-​nē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce congenially (audio) , -​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

Changing of the guard This weekend, Londoners will experience a pair of Yankees-Red Sox matchups featuring a crop of far more congenial stars than those of Wells' era, led by the Yankees' Aaron Judge and Red Sox's Mookie Betts. Motez Bishara, CNN, "MLB London Series: Yankees and Red Sox greats recall championships, brawls and the Curse of the Bambino," 27 June 2019 After Wednesday’s largely congenial presidential debate in Miami, another set of White House hopefuls go at it Thursday night. Ap Mcclatchy, The Mercury News, "Watch Democratic debate Night 2: Biden’s bull’s-eye, Sanders’ attitude and other things to watch for," 27 June 2019 The one candidate with momentum, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has the benefit of appearing with very congenial contenders unlikely to attack her (e.g. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Amy Klobuchar). Jennifer Rubin, The Denver Post, "Rubin: Who’s rising, who’s falling and who’s invisible," 24 June 2019 Half of them replaced sheriffs who retired or otherwise left their positions without running for reelection, handling the transition in a manner the new sheriffs generally described in public statements as fair and congenial. Connor Sheets |,, "After losing reelection, these Alabama sheriffs took it out on their successors - and the public," 12 June 2019 Half of them replaced sheriffs who retired or otherwise left their positions without running for reelection, handling the transition in a manner the new sheriffs generally described in public statements as fair and congenial. Connor Sheets, ProPublica, "Wasted Funds, Destroyed Property: How Sheriffs Undermined Their Successors After Losing Reelection," 12 June 2019 In fact, she was made acutely uncomfortable that he was not buried in congenial company, but with people who had not appreciated him. Garry Wills, Harper's magazine, "Shallow Calls to Shallow," 10 Apr. 2019 Jason Lively, who was 13 and played the son of Wood’s and Walken’s characters, remembers the set as a congenial place. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "The True Story of the Lost Sci-Fi Movie "Brainstorm," Natalie Wood’s Last Film," 21 Dec. 2018 What began as a way to feel better ended up making both women stars — at least among the tight, congenial subset of home bakers who refer to themselves as cookiers. Alison Roman, The Seattle Times, "‘We are all connected by cookies’: A tribe with a bond stronger than royal icing," 12 Dec. 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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Statistics for congenial

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

somewhat formal
: suitable or appropriate
: pleasant and enjoyable
: very friendly


con·​ge·​nial | \ kən-ˈjē-nyəl How to pronounce congenial (audio) \

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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