jo·​vial | \ ˈjō-vē-əl How to pronounce jovial (audio) , -vyəl \

Definition of jovial

1 : characterized by good-humored cheerfulness and conviviality : jolly a jovial host a jovial welcome spent a jovial evening together
2 capitalized : of or relating to Jove

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Other Words from jovial

joviality \ ˌjō-​vē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce jovial (audio) \ noun
jovially \ ˈjō-​vē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce jovial (audio) , -​vyə-​ \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for jovial

merry, blithe, jocund, jovial, jolly mean showing high spirits or lightheartedness. merry suggests cheerful, joyous, uninhibited enjoyment of frolic or festivity. a merry group of revelers blithe suggests carefree, innocent, or even heedless gaiety. arrived late in his usual blithe way jocund stresses elation and exhilaration of spirits. singing, dancing, and jocund feasting jovial suggests the stimulation of conviviality and good fellowship. dinner put them in a jovial mood jolly suggests high spirits expressed in laughing, bantering, and jesting. our jolly host enlivened the party

Jovial and Birth Dates

Jupiter, also called Jove, was the chief Roman god and was considered a majestic, authoritative type—just the kind of god to name a massive planet like Jupiter for. Our word jovial comes by way of Middle French from the Late Latin adjective jovialis, meaning "of or relating to Jove." When English speakers first picked up jovial in the late 16th century, it was a term of astrology used to describe those born under the influence of Jupiter, which, as a natal planet, was believed to impart joy and happiness. They soon began applying jovial to folks who shared the good-natured character of Jupiter, regardless of their birth date.

Examples of jovial in a Sentence

In response, an infuriating wink: Alsana always likes to appear jovial at the very moment that her interlocutor becomes hot under the collar. — Zadie Smith, White Teeth, 2001 I felt I was slumming, in my own life. My task was to ward off the drivel … the jovial claptrap of classmates and teachers, the maddening bromides I heard at home. — Susan Sontag, New Yorker, 21 Dec. 1987 For, the people who were shovelling away on the housetops were jovial and full of glee; calling out to one another from the parapets, and now and then exchanging a facetious snowball … — Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843 The audience was in a jovial mood. He's a very jovial man.
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Recent Examples on the Web Jay O’Neal, an eighth-grade social studies teacher in West Virginia, is an unusually jovial man, someone who punctuates every conversation with hearty laughter. Melody Schreiber, The New Republic, 1 Oct. 2021 Kors is the kind of fashion celebrity whose photo, with husband Lance LePere, papers the wall of more than one restaurant in Capri, usually surrounded by the staff in a big, jovial embrace. Linda Wells, Town & Country, 24 Sep. 2021 Sid still gives a jovial, familial preshow speech that salutes past Breakthrough performers and crew in attendance and urges audience members to vote in the theater’s annual awards. Matthew J. Palm,, 11 Sep. 2021 Earlier in the Dodgers' 3-1 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night, Scherzer was less jovial after he was pulled from the NL wild-card game. Scooby Axson, USA TODAY, 7 Oct. 2021 But underneath its accessible, jovial exterior is a complicated and mission-driven restaurant, where every choice made in the dining room drips of character. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 Sep. 2021 On some airplanes, the atmosphere was jovial as people decided the only way to cope was to drink and stay upbeat. Francesca Street, CNN, 6 Sep. 2021 Bialik said in a jovial tone, waving her hand dismissively. Washington Post, 27 Aug. 2021 The mood was jovial June 30 as Brown announced the state’s official reopening after more than a year of pandemic restrictions. oregonlive, 15 Aug. 2021

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

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Last Updated

22 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jovial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of jovial

: full of happiness and joy : cheerful


jo·​vial | \ ˈjō-vē-əl How to pronounce jovial (audio) \

Kids Definition of jovial

Other Words from jovial

jovially adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on jovial

Nglish: Translation of jovial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jovial for Arabic Speakers


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