Word Geek Column, July 27, 2011

WORD GEEK word of the week: convivial

Spell to Write and Read markings:  con vi vi al (all first sounds)


  1. of or belonging to a feast or banquet; exhibits jovial or enjoyable companionship;
  2. fond of feasting or agreeable company; enjoys parties and high “feasts” (as in feast days such as Mardi Gras); someone known for particularly enjoying social events

Synonyms: social, festive, jovial, sociable

“One does not leave a convivial party before closing time.” — Winston Churchill

“The Irish people are generally known for their convivial spirit and hospitality.”

“His parties seemed always full of convivial companions and activities and were justifiably popular.”

Convivial is of Latin origin, from the Late Latin word convivialis, derived from convivium (feast) of the Latin period, from convivere (to carouse together), from com- (together) + vivere (to live).  Convivial came into English in 1669 with regard to its first meaning, above, and in 1754 with regard to its second meaning.  Convivial may be applied to an event or a person.

From the 1800s on, convivial has the connotation of being sociable in a more general sense than its earlier meaning in the 1700s, when it was used more closely connected to feasts or banquets.  The more recent meaning is still in use today.

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