endowed with or characterized by a hearty, joyous humor or a spirit of good-fellowship: a wonderfully jovial host.
(initial capital letter) of or relating to the god Jove, or Jupiter.

Origin of jovial

1580–90; < Medieval Latin joviālis of Jupiter (the planet, supposed to exert a happy influence), equivalent to Latin jovi- (see Jovian) + -ālis -al1
Related formsjo·vi·al·ly, adverbjo·vi·al·ness, nounun·jo·vi·al, adjectiveun·jo·vi·al·ly, adverb
Can be confusedjocose jocular jocund jovial (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for jovial

1. merry, jolly, convivial, gay, joyful, mirthful. Jovial, jocose, jocular, jocund agree in referring to someone who is in a good humor. Jovial suggests a hearty, joyous humor: a jovial person. Jocose refers to that which causes laughter; it suggests someone who is playful and given to jesting: with jocose and comical airs. Jocular means humorous, facetious, mirthful, and waggish: jocular enough to keep up the spirits of all around him. Jocund, now a literary word, suggests a cheerful, light-hearted, and sprightly gaiety: glad and jocund company.

Antonyms for jovial

1. gloomy. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jovial

Contemporary Examples of jovial

Historical Examples of jovial

  • A solitary ruffian, indeed, is moody, but a gang of ruffians are jovial.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • The Marchese, who was in a jovial mood, opened a bank for them.

    Casanova's Homecoming

    Arthur Schnitzler

  • You will be jovial, my dear Martin, and will kill the fatted calf if you please!'

  • Never did he seem so careless, our Scribe asserts, and so jovial and child-like in his joys.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • "You are wrong," he said in a jovial way so as to drive all bitterness from the discussion.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for jovial



having or expressing convivial humour; jolly
Derived Formsjoviality or jovialness, nounjovially, adverb

Word Origin for jovial

C16: from Latin joviālis of (the planet) Jupiter, considered by astrologers to foster good humour
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 jovial

1580s, "under the influence of the planet Jupiter," from Middle French jovial (16c.), from Italian joviale, literally "pertaining to Jupiter," and directly from Latin Iovialis "of Jupiter," from Iovius (used as genitive of Iuppiter) "Jupiter," Roman god of the sky (see Jove). The meaning "good-humored, merry," is from astrological belief that those born under the sign of the planet Jupiter are of such dispositions. Related: Jovially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper