Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
July 9th, 2016
Episode 580 of 848 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for July 9, 2016 is: jovial \JOH-vee-ul\ adjective 1 : (capitalized Jovial) of or relating to Jove 2 : markedly good-humored especially as evidenced by jollity and conviviality Examples: He was fondly remembered for his jovial temperament and generosity. "Inside, the crowd was boisterous and jovial, the young and fashionable sharing space with old regulars, all of them out despite the cold…." — Michael Snyder, Saveur, 13 June 2016 Did you know? Jupiter, also called Jove, was the chief Roman god and was considered a majestic, authoritative type—just the kind of god to name a massive planet like Jupiter for. Our word jovial comes by way of Middle French from the Late Latin adjective jovialis, meaning "of or relating to Jove." When English speakers first picked up jovial in the late 16th century, it was a term of astrology used to describe those born under the influence of Jupiter, which, as a natal planet, was believed to impart joy and happiness. They soon began applying jovial to folks who shared the good-natured character of Jupiter, regardless of their birth date.