winsome

adjective
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

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Other Words from winsome

winsomely adverb
winsomeness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for winsome

Synonyms

blithe, blithesome, bright, buoyant, canty [British dialect], cheerful, cheery, chipper, eupeptic, gay, gladsome, lightsome, sunny, upbeat

Antonyms

dour, gloomy, glum, morose, saturnine, sulky, sullen

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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."

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

Shakespeare’s difficult comedy may not really have a knockout punch, but this cast’s sober shift at the serious end is a pleasing finish to a mostly winsome show. 7:30 p.m. Various times through Sunday. Washington Post, "13 things to do in the D.C. area this week," 10 June 2019 Cecilie Bahnsen does a winsome shirt dress with a high neck in the softest shade of baby pink that’s just asking to be matched with cute cropped leggings or even a pair of bicycle shorts. Vogue, "Do You Dare to Wear a Dress Over Pants? Here’s How to Do It Right," 17 Apr. 2019 But as the monogram double-F body stockings and winsome dresses of this final collection make clear, Lagerfeld was modern to the last. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "The Top Shows of Milan Fashion Week Fall 2019," 25 Feb. 2019 But don’t be fooled: the actress is more than just a winsome clothes hanger. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Lily-Rose Depp Takes Chanel’s Bike Shorts For a Spin," 15 Nov. 2018 The cast — led by the charmingly winsome Mitchell Jarvis as Mitch, our stockbroker-cum-band reuniter, lover, dreamer, and Alex Brightman impersonator — performs it with loud conviction. Aja Romano, Vox, "Gettin’ the Band Back Together is a giant musical comedy dad joke. To hate it is to hate joy.," 28 Aug. 2018 There’s the winsome barista, Tara (Vanessa Hudgens), caught in a love triangle with a hunky vet, Dr. Mike (Michael Cassidy), and an altruistic but nerdy dog-rescue-center owner, Garrett (Jon Bass). Katie Walsh, The Seattle Times, "Pups lift the doldrums of ‘Dog Days’," 7 Aug. 2018 Camille Preaker, our protagonist, is more winsome than Libby Day, but only incidentally (and only incrementally). A.j. Finn, chicagotribune.com, "Gillian Flynn's 'Sharp Objects' gives women permission to be bad," 13 July 2018 And winsome twinkles shine through the blackness throughout, thanks in no small part to Offutt’s keen ear and eye. New York Times, "A Novel of Kentucky Noir, So Humane It’s Bathed in Light," 23 May 2018

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.

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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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Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for winsome

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

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More Definitions for winsome

winsome

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of winsome

formal : cheerful, pleasant, and appealing

winsome

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

Kids Definition of winsome

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More from Merriam-Webster on winsome

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for winsome

Spanish Central: Translation of winsome

Nglish: Translation of winsome for Spanish Speakers

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