• synonyms


or deb·o·naire, deb·on·naire

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  1. courteous, gracious, and having a sophisticated charm: a debonair gentleman.
  2. jaunty; carefree; sprightly.
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Origin of debonair

1175–1225; Middle English debone(i)re < Anglo-French; Old French debonaire, orig. phrase de bon aire of good lineage
Related formsdeb·o·nair·ly, adverbdeb·o·nair·ness, noun


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1. urbane, suave, elegant, polished.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for debonair



adjective (esp of a man or his manner)
  1. suave and refined
  2. carefree; light-hearted
  3. courteous and cheerful; affable
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Derived Formsdebonairly, adverbdebonairness, 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

Word Origin and History for debonair


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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper