win·​some | \ ˈwin(t)-səm How to pronounce winsome (audio) \

Definition of winsome

1 : generally pleasing and engaging often because of a childlike charm and innocence a winsome smile

Other Words from winsome

winsomely adverb
winsomeness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for winsome



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Winsome comes from Old English wynn, meaning "joy" or "pleasure," which was altered in spelling to win (with the same meaning). That win is obsolete and is unrelated to today's win—referring to victory and coming from Old English winnan, "to struggle, suffer, or acquire." The adjective winning, meaning "tending to please or delight," as in "a winning smile" or "winning ways," is believed to be from the victorious win.

Examples of winsome in a Sentence

He had a winsome, boyish smile. she was a bright, winsome gamine who could draw a smile out of anyone
Recent Examples on the Web Though several of the tertiary characters get winsome callbacks scattered throughout the season, Nadia’s time-loop buddy Alan (Charlie Barnett) is saddled with a storyline that the show itself seems wildly indifferent toward. Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2022 In their place was a lightshow peppered by winsome children filled with song, and most of the pageantry that followed took on a snowflake theme. Amy Bass, CNN, 4 Feb. 2022 For a mountain that’s had its top blown off, the old Martiki coal mine is looking especially winsome these days. New York Times, 2 Jan. 2022 Shirley MacLaine is the winsome elevator operator that one of those executives is toying with. Alison Willmore, Vulture, 6 Dec. 2021 There’s also a winsome salt-cod dip, like a friendly whitefish salad spiked with serrano chili and fried-garlic chips. Shauna Lyon, The New Yorker, 12 Nov. 2021 Proof that a little bit of humor is the most winsome attribute of all. Aj Willingham, CNN, 10 Nov. 2021 Virginie also has a winsome young daughter, Maya (Lilou Siauvaud), who naturally hits it off with Bill immediately, raising the specter of a redemptive second shot at fatherhood. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2021 Much of this winsome formula was replicated and lightly parodied by a 2000s Black family sitcom, which pointedly rejected its predecessor’s vision of White, middle-class Americana. Washington Post, 22 Sep. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of winsome

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for winsome

Middle English winsum, from Old English wynsum, from wynn joy; akin to Old High German wunna joy, Latin venus desire — more at win

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The first known use of winsome was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near winsome

Winslow system


win someone's heart

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Last Updated

2 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Winsome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for winsome


win·​some | \ ˈwin-səm How to pronounce winsome (audio) \

Kids Definition of winsome

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Nglish: Translation of winsome for Spanish Speakers


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