cordial

1 of 2

adjective

cor·​dial ˈkȯr-jəl How to pronounce cordial (audio)
1
a
: 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 watersDaniel Defoe
3
obsolete : of or relating to the heart : vital
cordially
ˈkȯrj-lē How to pronounce cordial (audio)
ˈkȯr-jə-
adverb
cordialness noun

cordial

2 of 2

noun

1
2
: a stimulating medicine or drink

Did you know?

The Latin root cord- (or cor) is at the heart of the connection between cordial, concord (meaning “harmony”), and discord (meaning “conflict”). Cord- means “heart,” and each of these cord- descendants has something to do with the heart, at least figuratively. Concord, which comes from com- (meaning “together” or “with”) plus -cord, suggests that one heart is with another. Discord combines the prefix dis- (meaning “apart”) with -cord to imply that hearts are apart. Hundreds of years ago, cordial could mean simply “of or relating to the (literal) heart” (the -ial is simply an adjective suffix) but today anything described as cordial—be it a friendly welcome, a compliment, or an agreement—comes from the heart in a figurative sense. Cordial is also used as a noun to refer to a usually sweet liqueur, the name being inspired by the idea that a cordial invigorates the heart.

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

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The drink features 100% agave tequila, chili liqueur and a watermelon rind cordial. Nathan Diller, USA TODAY, 21 Jan. 2024 Elise has already compromised by agreeing to be cordial when their paths cross. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 26 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for cordial 

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

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

Noun

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

First Known Use

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of cordial was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near cordial

Cite this Entry

“Cordial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cordial. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

cordial

1 of 2 noun
cor·​dial ˈkȯr-jəl How to pronounce cordial (audio)
1
: a stimulating medicine or drink
2

cordial

2 of 2 adjective
1
: tending to refresh or cheer
2
: being warm and friendly
cordial greeting
cordiality
ˌkȯr-jē-ˈal-ət-ē
noun
cordially
ˈkȯrj-(ə-)lē
adverb
Etymology

Adjective

Middle English cordial "of the heart, vital," from Latin cordialis (same meaning), from cor "heart" — related to courage

Medical Definition

cordial

noun
cor·​dial ˈkȯr-jəl How to pronounce cordial (audio)
: an invigorating and stimulating medicine, food, or drink

More from Merriam-Webster on cordial

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