felicitous

adjective

fe·​lic·​i·​tous fi-ˈli-sə-təs How to pronounce felicitous (audio)
1
: very well suited or expressed : apt
a felicitous remark
handled the delicate matter in a most felicitous manner
2
: pleasant, delightful
felicitous weather
The ride through the countryside is a felicitous journey for city people.
felicitously adverb
felicitousness noun

Did you know?

Before a mouse named Mickey ruled the animation scene, there was Felix—a wily black cat who is often regarded as the first cartoon star, and who became an international sensation in the early 20th century for films such as Felix in Hollywood (1923) and Comicalamities (1928). “Felix,” you might say, was a felicitous—that is, apt—name for the happy, Chaplinesque feline. Felix, after all, is a Latin word meaning “happy” or “fruitful,” and the ancestor of the English adjective felicitous, which can mean both “pleasant and delightful,” and “very well suited or expressed.” With regard to the “apt” sense of felicitous, it’s important to note that it is most often applied to someone’s actions or expressions (as in “a felicitous phrase”). In other words, no matter how fitting someone’s choice of pants may be for, say, the world premiere of a new animated movie, it would not be fitting to say “they arrived at the theater wearing felicitous pants.”

Choose the Right Synonym for felicitous

fit, suitable, meet, proper, appropriate, fitting, apt, happy, felicitous mean right with respect to some end, need, use, or circumstance.

fit stresses adaptability and sometimes special readiness for use or action.

fit for battle

suitable implies an answering to requirements or demands.

clothes suitable for camping

meet suggests a just proportioning.

meet payment

proper suggests a suitability through essential nature or accordance with custom.

proper acknowledgement

appropriate implies eminent or distinctive fitness.

an appropriate gift

fitting implies harmony of mood or tone.

a fitting end

apt connotes a fitness marked by nicety and discrimination.

apt quotations

happy suggests what is effectively or successfully appropriate.

a happy choice of words

felicitous suggests an aptness that is opportune, telling, or graceful.

a felicitous phrase

Examples of felicitous in a Sentence

a felicitous combination of flavors a felicitous accompaniment to dinner is provided by a pianist on weekends at the restaurant
Recent Examples on the Web And in one of those felicitous culinary accidents like the Toll House cookie, wound up with a gluten-free product. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, 27 Mar. 2024 Advertisement Some of Sondheim’s best jokes are swallowed up in the imbalance between singers and orchestra, a situation exacerbated by a perhaps unanticipated and more felicitous problem: the audiences’ frequent boisterous response. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 27 Mar. 2023 Pebble Beach was not a felicitous meeting of land and sea. Doug Ferguson, USA TODAY, 5 Feb. 2024 That breadth is a felicitous analog to the roaming comedy of the script. Scott Hocker, theweek, 5 Jan. 2024 Ellis-Bextor now joins Kate Bush in the league of criminally underrated British singers who have received a late-career reappraisal thanks to a felicitous TV or film sync. Vulture, 11 Jan. 2024 A couple of bright, shining hours can endow a day with a felicitous look and feel. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 23 Dec. 2023 The sporty coupe burbles, crackles and pops with each downshift, a felicitous experience for driver and passenger alike. Morgan Korn, ABC News, 9 Dec. 2023 The Austria-set show, running through Sept. 3, is also a felicitous pairing with the Central European wonderland that is downtown Leavenworth, a vacation destination decked out entirely in old-world Bavarian architecture. Zachary Pincus-Roth, Washington Post, 17 Aug. 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

1789, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of felicitous was in 1789

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near felicitous

Cite this Entry

“Felicitous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/felicitous. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

felicitous

adjective
fe·​lic·​i·​tous fi-ˈlis-ət-əs How to pronounce felicitous (audio)
1
: very well suited or expressed
felicitous wording
2
felicitously adverb
felicitousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on felicitous

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!