jaun·​ty ˈjȯn-tē How to pronounce jaunty (audio)
jauntier; jauntiest
: sprightly in manner or appearance : lively
sporting a jaunty red beret
a jaunty stroll
a jaunty tune
jauntily adverb
jauntiness noun

Did you know?

Does throwing on a jaunty hat make someone appear more genteel? Maybe, but something more definitive links the words: both jaunty and genteel come from the French word gentil, meaning "of aristocratic birth." Genteel was borrowed first to describe things associated with aristocratic people. Jaunty joined the language just a few years later in the mid-17th century as a synonym of stylish and also as a synonym for genteel. While genteel has maintained its associations of propriety and high social class, jaunty has traipsed into less stuffy territory as a descriptor of tunes and hats and other things that suggest lively confidence.

Examples of jaunty in a Sentence

He struck a jaunty pose for the camera. She was wearing a jaunty white cap.
Recent Examples on the Web Jim Horn kicks it off with a jaunty flute riff inspired by blues vet Henry Thomas. 5. August Brown, Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2023 That data came from a June study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, that found human groundwater pumping is primarily to blame for the jaunty new tilt. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 23 Aug. 2023 Camilla had one of the best seats in the house in the Royal Box, attending with her sister (and coronation attendant) Annabel Elliot. 10 Prince Albert of Monaco Prince Albert of Monaco sat just a space away from Queen Camilla on July 12, and donned one of the jaunty official hats in the hot sun. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 14 July 2023 The stripes impart a jaunty nautical vibe. Alesandra Dubin, Woman's Day, 1 Apr. 2023 The authors tried for a jaunty tone but had no sure answer. Barton Gellman, Wired, 24 May 2020 There was a jaunty red scarf around her neck, pinned with a large jeweled brooch. Seija Rankin, EW.com, 5 May 2020 Stein’s gnomic text, full of repetitions and oddities, and Thomson’s jaunty marches, waltzes and folk-like tunes create a stew of noise and conflict, with Susan B.,... Heidi Waleson, WSJ, 12 Feb. 2020 California Located along Southern California’s coast, the Aquarium of the Pacific is home to 20 jaunty Magellanic penguins. Lindsay Lambert Day, Condé Nast Traveler, 18 Mar. 2020 See More

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

Word History


modification of French gentil

First Known Use

1662, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Time Traveler
The first known use of jaunty was in 1662


Dictionary Entries Near jaunty

Cite this Entry

“Jaunty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jaunty. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


jaun·​ty ˈjȯnt-ē How to pronounce jaunty (audio)
jauntier; jauntiest
: perky in manner or appearance : lively
jaunty marching tunes
jauntily adverb
jauntiness noun

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