or deb·o·naire, deb·on·naire


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

Synonyms for debonair Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for debonnaire

Historical Examples of debonnaire

  • Yet what a change they make in the beautiful, debonnaire countenance!

    Molly Bawn

    Margaret Wolfe Hamilton

  • Ferdinand the debonnaire, the well-loved, the generator of heirs.

  • Her pretty face, usually so bright and debonnaire, is pale and sad.

  • General Debonnaire believed that a campaign was imminent, and prepared for it.

    Penguin Island

    Anatole France

  • He seemed to be riding through life for a fall, and rode with his chin up, gay and debonnaire.

    The Isle of Unrest

    Henry Seton Merriman

British Dictionary definitions for debonnaire



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

Word Origin for debonair

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 debonnaire



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