winsome was our Word of the Day on 03/09/2012. Hear the podcast!
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
Did You Know?
Winsome began as "wynsum" a thousand years ago. It was formed from "wynn," the Old English word for "joy" or "pleasure," and the suffix -sum, an older form of the "-some" we see today in many adjectives, such as "awesome," "irksome," and "lonesome." "Wynn" later became win, meaning "pleasure," but we haven't used that noun since the 17th century. We do, however, use another word that has a "pleasing" connection and is related, albeit distantly, to "winsome." "Winning" ("tending to please or delight," as in "a winning smile" or "winning ways"), the present participle of the familiar verb "win," is from Old English winnan, meaning "to struggle." Both "winnan" and "wynn" are thought to be related to Latin venus, which means, among other things, "charm."
Origin and Etymology of winsome
Middle English winsum, from Old English wynsum, from wynn joy; akin to Old High German wunna joy, Latin venus desire — more at win
First Known Use: before 12th century
WINSOME Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of winsome for English Language Learners
: cheerful, pleasant, and appealing
WINSOME Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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