cor·​dial | \ ˈkȯr-jəl How to pronounce cordial (audio) \

Definition of cordial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : showing or marked by warm and often hearty friendliness, favor, or approval a cordial welcome : politely pleasant and friendly two nations maintaining cordial relations
b : sincerely or deeply felt a cordial dislike for each other
2 : tending to revive, cheer, or invigorate bottles full of excellent cordial waters— Daniel Defoe
3 obsolete : of or relating to the heart : vital



Definition of cordial (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : liqueur
2 : a stimulating medicine or drink

Other Words from cordial


cordially \ ˈkȯrj-​lē How to pronounce cordial (audio) , ˈkȯr-​jə-​ \ adverb
cordialness \ ˈkȯr-​jəl-​nəs How to pronounce cordial (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for cordial


gracious, cordial, affable, genial, sociable mean markedly pleasant and easy in social intercourse. gracious implies courtesy and kindly consideration. the gracious award winner thanked her colleagues cordial stresses warmth and heartiness. our host was cordial as he greeted us affable implies easy approachability and readiness to respond pleasantly to conversation or requests or proposals. though wealthy, she was affable to all genial stresses cheerfulness and even joviality. a genial companion with a ready quip sociable suggests a genuine liking for the companionship of others. sociable people who enjoy entertaining

Did you know?

Cordial shares the Latin root cor with concord (meaning "harmony") and discord (meaning "conflict"). Cor means "heart," and each of these cor descendants has something to do with the heart, at least figuratively. Concord, which comes from con- (meaning "together" or "with") plus cor, suggests that one heart is with another. Discord combines the prefix dis- (meaning "apart") with cor, and it implies that hearts are apart. When cordial was first used in the 14th century, it literally meant "of or relating to the heart," but this sense has not been in use since the 17th century. Today anything that is cordial, be it a friendly welcome, a compliment, or an agreement, comes from the heart in a figurative sense.

Examples of cordial in a Sentence

Adjective … Conrad Black was cordial and not the least rumbustious. — Calvin Trillin, New Yorker, 17 Dec. 2001 Though its chairman, Charles Obi, was cordial to him, the others made it clear that they didn't want him. — Ishmael Reed, Japanese by Spring, 1993 My reception was cordial enough … — Robert Frost 7 Jan. 1913, in Selected Letters of Robert Frost, edited by Lawrance Thompson1964 Mr. Price now received his daughter; and having given her a cordial hug, and observed that she was grown into a woman … — Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814 We received a cordial greeting from our hostess at the party. The two nations have maintained cordial relations. Noun It was fortunate that the boys never tested Alyce's magic, for the bottle she shook so fiercely at them was naught but blackberry cordial she was to deliver to Old Anna … — Karen Cushman, The Midwife's Apprentice, 1995 A boy is said to become a man when he can sip the 140-proof anise-seed cordial without wincing. — Paul L. Montgomery, New York Times, 6 Sept. 1965 "In this bottle," he said, "there is a cordial made of the juice of one of the fire-flowers that grow in the mountains of the sun. If you or any of your friends are hurt, a few drops of this will restore you." — C. S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, 1950 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective His meeting with the Indian foreign secretary was cordial, stressing the strong ties between Washington and New Delhi. Rajesh Roy, WSJ, 26 Apr. 2022 Putin, whose cordial relationship with Le Pen became a campaign issue, also congratulated Macron. Los Angeles Times, 25 Apr. 2022 Service is cordial and sommelier Danny Martins is very knowledgeable about the extensive wine list of Portugal’s finest bottlings. John Mariani, Forbes, 25 Mar. 2022 The Democratic primary for Ohio’s governor, to date, has been a cordial affair, with Nan Whaley and John Cranley remaining friendly despite the minor differences in their approach to their campaigns. cleveland, 21 Apr. 2022 Their relationship since then has remained cordial, if distant — or as detached as any Venetian can hope to be in a city whose native population is small enough to see itself as endangered. New York Times, 16 Apr. 2022 But the exes have worked to remain cordial for the sake of their kids, even recently attending son Saint's soccer game together. Dory Jackson,, 12 Apr. 2022 But with music being subjective, the dialogue, though always cordial, could get heated and spicy. Jem Aswad, Variety, 7 Apr. 2022 However, what could have been a cordial conscious uncoupling between the two billionaires is turning out to be a frightening, emotionally abusive ordeal unfolding for the entire world to see. Ineye Komonibo,, 16 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The aromatics on the nose have the intensity of a fruit cordial—florals surrounding black cherry layered with hints of pine forest, bay laurel and fresh-turned loam. Sara L. Schneider, Robb Report, 11 Apr. 2022 High-toned violet notes get out ahead of intense cherry cordial, crushed herbs, vivid spice, cedar and graphite. Sara L. Schneider, Robb Report, 14 Mar. 2022 Dense, velvety and sensual, the palate opens like black cherry cordial, plush but bright (the Carménère talking) with plum and anise flavors laced through fine tannins. Sara L. Schneider, Robb Report, 14 Mar. 2022 Months after her move, Chloe still considers Gemma a friend but notes that their relationship has gone from close to cordial. Erin Donnelly,, 17 Feb. 2022 The restaurant also offers sake, wine and cocktails like the house Old Fashioned made with banana-washed Nikka Yoichi single malt, fresh banana cordial and Okinawa brown sugar. Alyson Sheppard, Robb Report, 10 Feb. 2022 Jünger, despite his cordial, if aloof, relations with the National Socialists, was fêted by postwar German governments. Thomas Meaney, The New Yorker, 27 Sep. 2021 Mixed with cold soda water, a Jukes cordial at least tastes like an adult drink. John Seabrook, The New Yorker, 20 Sep. 2021 Other drinks include the Diabla: Libelula tequila, cassis, ginger liqueur, Topo Chico and Fresno chile cordial. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4 Sep. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of cordial


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for cordial


Middle English cordiall "of the heart, cardiac, invigorating, deeply felt," borrowed from Medieval Latin cordiālis, from Latin cord-, cor "heart" + -iālis -ial


Middle English, "stimulating substance," borrowed from Medieval Latin cordiāle, noun derivative from neuter of cordiālis "of the heart, invigorating" — more at cordial entry 1

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The first known use of cordial was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cordial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for cordial


cor·​dial | \ ˈkȯr-jəl How to pronounce cordial (audio) \

Kids Definition of cordial

: warm and friendly a cordial host

Other Words from cordial

cordially adverb You are cordially invited.


cor·​dial | \ ˈkȯr-jəl How to pronounce cordial (audio) \

Medical Definition of cordial

: an invigorating and stimulating medicine, food, or drink

More from Merriam-Webster on cordial

Nglish: Translation of cordial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cordial for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cordial


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