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or debonaire, debonnaire

[deb-uh-nair] /ˌdɛb əˈnɛər/
courteous, gracious, and having a sophisticated charm:
a debonair gentleman.
jaunty; carefree; sprightly.
Origin of debonair
1175-1225; Middle English debone(i)re < Anglo-French; Old French debonaire, orig. phrase de bon aire of good lineage
Related forms
debonairly, adverb
debonairness, noun
1. urbane, suave, elegant, polished. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for debonaire
Historical Examples
  • Where was the easy, gay and debonaire assurance of this fluent young man?

    The Dark Star Robert W. Chambers
  • "We had your note," from Mr. Cannon, the good-looking and the debonaire, cheerfully.

    Selina George Madden Martin
  • Becker was not the debonaire Lothario he affected to be when in New Orleans.

    The Yazoo Mystery Irving Craddock
  • But what is lightsome and blithe in her, was debonaire in him.

  • The person who has been ground by poverty is never a debonaire gambler.

    Comrade Yetta Albert Edwards
  • My dear Alwyn, those Yorkshire lasses are parlously comely, and mighty douce and debonaire.

    The Last Of The Barons, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Poitiers was the cradle of Alinor of Aquitaines brilliant and debonaire line of troubadours, crusaders, and church builders.

    How France Built Her Cathedrals Elizabeth Boyle O'Reilly
  • And after a while Renoux appeared, bland, debonaire, evidently much pleased with whatever he had been doing.

    The Moonlit Way

    Robert W. Chambers
British Dictionary definitions for debonaire


adjective (esp of a man or his manner)
suave and refined
carefree; light-hearted
courteous and cheerful; affable
Derived Forms
debonairly, adverb
debonairness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French debonaire, from de bon aire having a good disposition
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for debonaire



c.1200, "mild, gentle, kind courteous," from Old French debonaire, from de bon' aire "of good race," originally used of hawks, hence, "thoroughbred" (opposite of French demalaire). Used in Middle English to mean "docile, courteous," it became obsolete and was revived with an altered sense of "pleasant, affable" (1680s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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