adjective jo·vial \ ˈjō-vē-əl , -vyəl \
|Updated on: 9 Aug 2018

Definition of jovial

1 : markedly good-humored especially as evidenced by cheerfulness and conviviality : jolly
  • a jovial host
  • a jovial welcome
2 capitalized : of or relating to Jove


play \ˌjō-vē-ˈa-lə-tē\ noun


play \ˈjō-vē-ə-lē, -vyə-\ adverb

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Examples of jovial in a Sentence

  1. In response, an infuriating wink: Alsana always likes to appear jovial at the very moment that her interlocutor becomes hot under the collar. —Zadie SmithWhite Teeth2001
  2. I felt I was slumming, in my own life. My task was to ward off the drivel … the jovial claptrap of classmates and teachers, the maddening bromides I heard at home. —Susan SontagNew Yorker21 Dec. 1987
  3. For, the people who were shovelling away on the housetops were jovial and full of glee; calling out to one another from the parapets, and now and then exchanging a facetious snowball … —Charles DickensA Christmas Carol1843
  4. The audience was in a jovial mood.

  5. He's a very jovial man.

Recent Examples of jovial from the Web

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

jovial and Birth Dates

Jupiter, also called Jove, was the chief Roman god and was considered a majestic, authoritative type—just the kind of god to name a massive planet like Jupiter for. Our word jovial comes by way of Middle French from the Late Latin adjective jovialis, meaning "of or relating to Jove." When English speakers first picked up jovial in the late 16th century, it was a term of astrology used to describe those born under the influence of Jupiter, which, as a natal planet, was believed to impart joy and happiness. They soon began applying jovial to folks who shared the good-natured character of Jupiter, regardless of their birth date.

First Known Use of jovial


in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Synonym Discussion of jovial

merry, blithe, jocund, jovial, jolly mean showing high spirits or lightheartedness. merry suggests cheerful, joyous, uninhibited enjoyment of frolic or festivity.
    • a merry group of revelers
blithe suggests carefree, innocent, or even heedless gaiety.
    • arrived late in his usual blithe way
jocund stresses elation and exhilaration of spirits.
    • singing, dancing, and jocund feasting
jovial suggests the stimulation of conviviality and good fellowship.
    • dinner put them in a jovial mood
jolly suggests high spirits expressed in laughing, bantering, and jesting.
    • our jolly host enlivened the party

JOVIAL Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of jovial for English Language Learners

  • : full of happiness and joy

JOVIAL Defined for Kids


adjective jo·vial \ ˈjō-vē-əl \

Definition of jovial for Students

: 1jolly



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fullness to the point of excess

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