Printable Version
Pronunciation: jo-vi-êl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Jolly, amiable, convivial, of a cheerful disposition. 2. (Capitalized) Related to Jove, the supreme god of the Romans, or Jupiter, the planet.

Notes: The adverb for this adjective is the expectable jovially and the noun, the equally expectable joviality. Many adjectives ending on the suffix -al form nouns on -ity: triviality, morality. A few authors have tried the verb jovialize "to make people jovial", but it seems not to have caught on.

In Play: Joviality can be infectious: "Renfrow was a jovial negotiator who usually achieved more of his goals than his counterpart in his many negotiations." It may also represent subdued joy: "When asked if he would accept a position with more responsibility and a higher salary, Gregory assented with a jovial smile."

Word History: Today's Good Word came from Middle French jovial, inherited from Late Latin Iovialis "pertaining to Jupiter". The Latin word is based on Iovius "Jove", which was used as the genitive of Iuppiter "Jupiter". The association with happiness derives from the ancient belief that anyone born under the astrological sign of the planet Jupiter would be of jovial disposition. Jove derives from the same PIE word as the name of the Greek supreme god Zeus, deiw-os "god", akin to dyeu- "to shine, bright, daylight". Jupiter was originally a compound noun comprising deiw- + peter "father" = "father of the gods". Dyeu- also went into the making of Latin dies "day". Originally, then, we can see Zeus as the god of daylight and, hence, the heavens. (Here we have yet another fascinating Good Word from Albert Skiles, our long-time jovial friend and frequent contributor of word suggestions.)

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!