ire·​nic ī-ˈre-nik How to pronounce irenic (audio) -ˈrē- How to pronounce irenic (audio)
: favoring, conducive to, or operating toward peace, moderation, or conciliation
irenically adverb

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In Greek mythology, Eirene was one of the Horae, the goddesses of the seasons and natural order; in the Iliad the Horae are the custodians of the gates of Olympus. According to the Greek poet Hesiod, the Horae were the daughters of Zeus and a Titaness named Themis, and their names indicate their function and relation to human life. Eirene was the goddess of peace. Her name is also the Greek word for "peace," and it gave rise to irenic and other peaceable terms including irenics (a theological term for advocacy of Christian unity), Irena (the genus name of two species of birds found in southern Asia and the Philippines), and the name Irene.

Examples of irenic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Headlines daily chronicle war, murder, crime, road rage, social media threats and trivial disputes that turn deadly, which is why the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta continues spreading King's teachings on a more irenic way of life. Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN, 27 Feb. 2022 In Kennedy’s postwar America, Catholics were viewed more favorably, thanks partly to the irenic pontificate of John XXIII. The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Apr. 2021 Despite his talk of unity and his irenic tone, gratitude hasn’t been a Biden strong suit. Rich Lowry, National Review, 16 Mar. 2021 But what, specifically, do these conservatives want, besides a sense of thrill-in-combat that French’s irenic style denies them? Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 7 June 2019 Germany has enjoyed a long summer living well and gladly under Mrs Merkel’s irenic inaction. The Economist, 9 Sep. 2017

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

Word History


Greek eirēnikos, from eirēnē peace

First Known Use

circa 1864, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of irenic was circa 1864


Dictionary Entries Near irenic

Cite this Entry

“Irenic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

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