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



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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 Han-sol proved a winsome young man, speaking American English, complete with slang. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Liz Cheney and the GOP, &c.," 6 May 2021 There is a particularly winsome passage in Walden in which Thoreau compares time to a stream. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, "Stop Spending Time on Things You Hate," 29 Apr. 2021 After working a side job at a retirement home several years ago, Mr. Kivijarvi of @Gramparents came to appreciate the winsome style of certain elderly people. Wsj Noted., WSJ, "Why Millennials and Gen Z Are Taking Fashion Cues From Grandparents," 22 Apr. 2021 The winsome discussion details how to phrase an issue positively versus accusatory. Expert Panel®, Forbes, "12 Essential Tips For Communicating About Current Events," 15 Apr. 2021 Amid pretty aromas of red fruit, mineral scents beckon, leading to a winsome mouthful of ripe berries, violets, and a high-toned salty tang that persists beguilingly. Ellen Bhang,, "Winemakers in Spain’s Bierzo let old-vine mencía do the talking," 9 Mar. 2021 The clear standout of Swift’s Christmas album, with an endearingly winsome riff and lyrics that paint a poignant picture of yuletide heartbreak. Nate Jones, Vulture, "All 179 Taylor Swift Songs, Ranked," 11 Jan. 2021 This winsome tale, in fantastically flat animation, will be an Oscar contender. Jim Kiest,, "Catch up with some of 2020’s best movies like ‘Time,’ ‘Wolfwalker’ at home," 29 Dec. 2020 Cawthorn's personal style of evangelism — which appears to be a talking-to-strangers model many Christians, like me, literally never contemplate — doesn't seem terribly winsome. Bonnie Kristian, TheWeek, "American politics is fundamentally unserious about Christianity," 19 Nov. 2020

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

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Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Winsome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of winsome

formal : cheerful, pleasant, and appealing


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

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Nglish: Translation of winsome for Spanish Speakers

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