jo·​vial ˈjō-vē-əl How to pronounce jovial (audio)
: characterized by good-humored cheerfulness and conviviality : jolly
a jovial host
a jovial welcome
spent a jovial evening together
capitalized : of or relating to Jove
joviality noun
jovially adverb

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Jovial and Birth Dates

In Roman astrology, planets were named after gods, and people were thought to share the personality traits of the god whose planet was rising when they were born. Jupiter, also called Jove, was the chief Roman god and was considered a majestic type who was the source of joy and happiness. The Latin adjective jovialis means "of or relating to Jove." In French, this had become jovial, which English borrowed and used to describe people and things full of cheer or joy.

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of jovial in a Sentence

In response, an infuriating wink: Alsana always likes to appear jovial at the very moment that her interlocutor becomes hot under the collar. Zadie Smith, White Teeth, 2001
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 Sontag, New Yorker, 21 Dec. 1987
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 Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843
The audience was in a jovial mood. He's a very jovial man.
Recent Examples on the Web But the attendee noted that Mr. Xi, who is not known for being jovial, smiled often. David E. Sanger, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2023 The energy among participants was jovial, a mix of nerves and polite laughter — until a social worker in the audience asked about caseloads. Jaclyn Cosgrove, Los Angeles Times, 28 Oct. 2023 Under questioning from Colleen Faherty, an assistant attorney general, his manner was breezy and jovial. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 3 Nov. 2023 To his friends, Ali was a jokester, always a jovial presence in the street. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 26 Oct. 2023 In my row in the stands, an exceedingly jovial guard—over-50 and white, with a Jersey accent—took outfit photos for showgoers with their phones. Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, Pitchfork, 26 Sep. 2023 General Georgelin quickly became the face of the cathedral’s reconstruction, a jovial but no-nonsense military man who prided himself on keeping the project on track. Aurelien Breeden,, 19 Aug. 2023 Yoon looked the part of jovial statesman and ultimate U.S. ally. E. Tammy Kim, The New Yorker, 30 Sep. 2023 The moon’s auspicious connection to jovial Jupiter inspires harmonious exchanges with loved ones. USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'jovial.' 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

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of jovial was in 1592


Dictionary Entries Near jovial

Cite this Entry

“Jovial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: full of or expressing good humor

More from Merriam-Webster on jovial

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