jo·​vial ˈjō-vē-əl How to pronounce jovial (audio)
: characterized by good-humored cheerfulness and conviviality : jolly
a jovial host
a jovial welcome
spent a jovial evening together
capitalized : of or relating to Jove
joviality noun
jovially adverb

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Jovial and Birth Dates

In Roman astrology, planets were named after gods, and people were thought to share the personality traits of the god whose planet was rising when they were born. Jupiter, also called Jove, was the chief Roman god and was considered a majestic type who was the source of joy and happiness. The Latin adjective jovialis means "of or relating to Jove." In French, this had become jovial, which English borrowed and used to describe people and things full of cheer or joy.

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

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The mood was jovial until a dispute over a missing cellphone prompted a security guard to intervene. Cassidy Jensen, Baltimore Sun, 11 Nov. 2022 The ambiance at the Democratic party in Boston was jovial around 8 on Tuesday night, with whoops and hollers as the first eyes caught sight of Healey’s early victory. Katie Mcinerney,, 9 Nov. 2022 Across the 1980s, the men’s race was dominated by a jovial blond archaeology student named Bruce Fordyce, who won every year between 1981 and 1988. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 Oct. 2022 Some have immediate reflections on craft, others are internalizing their pain and turning out beautiful, jovial clothes in bright colors. Tina Isaac-goizé, Vogue, 7 Oct. 2022 Songs that seem jovial turn revolutionary by the end, there’s call-and-response and an ending where audience members stand shoulder to shoulder with performers to be seen, heard and cry with one another about the injustice of people of color dying. Darcel Rockett, Chicago Tribune, 5 Oct. 2022 Kuykendall has earned a spot in the starting six and has brought a jovial persona to the team. Tyler Foy,, 15 Sep. 2022 By Obama official portraits unveiled in jovial White House ceremony WASHINGTON - Former president Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, returned to the White House for the unveiling of their official portraits on Wednesday. Anchorage Daily News, 7 Sep. 2022 The highlights from your yearly trip to see the lights at Rockefeller Center or your equally jovial recap from your annual Christmas party are sure to rake in the likes on IG. Good Housekeeping, 6 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of jovial was in 1592


Dictionary Entries Near jovial

Cite this Entry

“Jovial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


: full of or expressing good humor

More from Merriam-Webster on jovial

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