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

Did you know?

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 The moon’s auspicious connection to jovial Jupiter inspires harmonious exchanges with loved ones. USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2023 The jovial guests, who were also companions, transmitted the rest of the light. Cortne Bonilla, Vogue, 30 Aug. 2023 In one scene, the group is eating at a fried chicken restaurant laughing when Slick Charles observes that the usually-somber Fontaine is uncharacteristically jovial. Uwa Ede-Osifo, NBC News, 14 Aug. 2023 Advertisement George Martin, a jovial 60-year-old chef who has worked in this kitchen for more than a decade, walked in from the back. Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times, 5 Sep. 2023 The banter is electric, the drinks are flowing, and the vibes are downright jovial. Li Goldstein, Bon Appétit, 25 Aug. 2023 Joining him was a friend, Ghaith Akel, a jovial tech engineer. Erika Solomon, New York Times, 28 May 2023 What was meant to be a jovial time for him quickly took a turn. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 15 Aug. 2023 The Ioniq 6 doesn’t weigh that much less than the Ioniq 5, and yet, the Ioniq 6’s character is lighter and more jovial, compared to the serious and utilitarian Ioniq 5. Rob Verger, Popular Science, 9 Aug. 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 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: full of or expressing good humor

More from Merriam-Webster on jovial

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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