cor·​dial | \ ˈkȯr-jəl How to pronounce cordial (audio) \

Essential Meaning of cordial

: politely pleasant and friendly We received a cordial greeting from our hostess at the party. The two nations have maintained cordial relations.

Full Definition of cordial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : showing or marked by warm and often hearty friendliness, favor, or approval a cordial welcome : politely pleasant and friendly two nations maintaining cordial relations
b : sincerely or deeply felt a cordial dislike for each other
2 : tending to revive, cheer, or invigorate bottles full of excellent cordial waters— Daniel Defoe
3 obsolete : of or relating to the heart : vital



Definition of cordial (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : liqueur
2 : a stimulating medicine or drink

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Other Words from cordial


cordially \ ˈkȯrj-​lē How to pronounce cordial (audio) , ˈkȯr-​jə-​ \ adverb
cordialness \ ˈkȯr-​jəl-​nəs How to pronounce cordial (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for cordial


gracious, cordial, affable, genial, sociable mean markedly pleasant and easy in social intercourse. gracious implies courtesy and kindly consideration. the gracious award winner thanked her colleagues cordial stresses warmth and heartiness. our host was cordial as he greeted us affable implies easy approachability and readiness to respond pleasantly to conversation or requests or proposals. though wealthy, she was affable to all genial stresses cheerfulness and even joviality. a genial companion with a ready quip sociable suggests a genuine liking for the companionship of others. sociable people who enjoy entertaining

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Cordial shares the Latin root cor with "concord" (meaning "harmony") and "discord" (meaning "conflict"). Cor means "heart," and each of these "cor" descendants has something to do with the heart, at least figuratively. "Concord," which comes from "con-" (meaning "together" or "with") plus "cor," suggests that one heart is with another. "Discord" combines the prefix dis- (meaning "apart") with "cor," and it implies that hearts are apart. When "cordial" was first used in the 14th century, it literally meant "of or relating to the heart," but this sense has not been in use since the 17th century. Today anything that is "cordial," be it a welcome, a hello, or an agreement, comes from the heart in a figurative sense.

Examples of cordial in a Sentence

Adjective … Conrad Black was cordial and not the least rumbustious. — Calvin Trillin, New Yorker, 17 Dec. 2001 Though its chairman, Charles Obi, was cordial to him, the others made it clear that they didn't want him. — Ishmael Reed, Japanese by Spring, 1993 My reception was cordial enough … — Robert Frost 7 Jan. 1913, in Selected Letters of Robert Frost, edited by Lawrance Thompson1964 Mr. Price now received his daughter; and having given her a cordial hug, and observed that she was grown into a woman … — Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814 We received a cordial greeting from our hostess at the party. The two nations have maintained cordial relations. Noun It was fortunate that the boys never tested Alyce's magic, for the bottle she shook so fiercely at them was naught but blackberry cordial she was to deliver to Old Anna … — Karen Cushman, The Midwife's Apprentice, 1995 A boy is said to become a man when he can sip the 140-proof anise-seed cordial without wincing. — Paul L. Montgomery, New York Times, 6 Sept. 1965 "In this bottle," he said, "there is a cordial made of the juice of one of the fire-flowers that grow in the mountains of the sun. If you or any of your friends are hurt, a few drops of this will restore you." — C. S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, 1950
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The board meetings have been cordial, the people said. Emily Glazer, WSJ, 20 Oct. 2021 Such cordial relations were not always the case, Roberto Hernandez said, recalling with pride that he had been arrested precisely 113 times in his younger days for offenses related to cruising. Steve Rubenstein, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 Aug. 2021 Officials said talks between the men, which occurred on a sunny deck overlooking Carbis Bay, seemed cordial. Kevin Liptak, CNN, 22 Sep. 2021 The encounters were cordial, if fraught; Tayara never fully understood Halabi’s motivation for reaching out to him. Ben Taub, The New Yorker, 13 Sep. 2021 The conversations were cordial, aides said at the time -- but not particularly long. Kevin Liptak And Jeff Zeleny, CNN, 10 Sep. 2021 Trump and Newsom maintained a surprisingly cordial, if uneven, relationship when the former president was still in office. James Rainey, Los Angeles Times, 5 Sep. 2021 The response was cordial but noncommittal, according to one participant, who recalled a sinking feeling afterward that the White House had no plan. New York Times, 21 Aug. 2021 They were spotted having dinner soon after their breakup, hinting that their relationship did in fact remain cordial. Iris Goldsztajn, Marie Claire, 20 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Mixed with cold soda water, a Jukes cordial at least tastes like an adult drink. John Seabrook, The New Yorker, 20 Sep. 2021 Other drinks include the Diabla: Libelula tequila, cassis, ginger liqueur, Topo Chico and Fresno chile cordial. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4 Sep. 2021 First, prepare the grapefruit-lime cordial at least the day prior to completing the cocktail. Laura Manske, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 With the Americans reducing troop levels at the airport amid the risk of ISIS-K attacks and other security concerns, they have been forced into a cordial if apprehensive working relationship with their onetime adversaries in the Taliban. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 29 Aug. 2021 Crescent Caliente Ritas include a housemade pineapple cordial, agave, jalapeño, Roca Patrón Añejo tequila and Del Maguey Vida Mezcal. Audrey Eads, Dallas News, 21 July 2021 The Polish highball, made with vodka liqueur, sherry, apple cordial and soda. Tirion Morris, The Arizona Republic, 6 June 2021 It was typically made by infusing a mix of brandy, wine and celandine juice with cloves, mace, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, sweet clover, spearmint, rosemary and cowslip for 12 hours, then distilling it into a cordial. Olivia Campbell, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Mar. 2021 The wine is off-dry, but balanced, with flavors of cherry cordial, marzipan and raspberries, dusted with baking spice. Washington Post, 2 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cordial.' 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 cordial


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for cordial


Middle English cordiall "of the heart, cardiac, invigorating, deeply felt," borrowed from Medieval Latin cordiālis, from Latin cord-, cor "heart" + -iālis -ial


Middle English, "stimulating substance," borrowed from Medieval Latin cordiāle, noun derivative from neuter of cordiālis "of the heart, invigorating" — more at cordial entry 1

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The first known use of cordial was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

27 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cordial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for cordial


cor·​dial | \ ˈkȯr-jəl How to pronounce cordial (audio) \

Kids Definition of cordial

: warm and friendly a cordial host

Other Words from cordial

cordially adverb You are cordially invited.


cor·​dial | \ ˈkȯr-jəl How to pronounce cordial (audio) \

Medical Definition of cordial

: an invigorating and stimulating medicine, food, or drink

More from Merriam-Webster on cordial

Nglish: Translation of cordial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cordial for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cordial


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