- Concerned with or belonging to a festive social gathering; characterized by festiveness and jovial social interaction
- Disposed to enjoy festivities and parties with good companionship
There are some things that you can't be on your own. For example, being a baseball player, being a parent, or being a Siamese twin all require the participation of multiple people. Another such action is being convivial. Literally translated, convivial means "having to do with living together" so it shouldn't come as a surprise that in order to be convivial you have to enjoy having fun with other people.
However, the original use of convivial describes not people who like parties but rather the parties themselves. Not every party or social event is convivial. In order for a social festivity to be convivial, it has to have friendly people socializing, partying, or generally having a good time. Basically, it needs to be a good party! However, "good parties" come in many different shapes and sizes. Often convivial describes parties or feasts with plenty of drinking and rowdy carousing, but it can be applied to any sort of fun and friendly social environment. For example, you could use convivial to describe your grandmother's Thanksgiving turkey get-together, as long as most people there are lively, friendly, and having fun. And, if your grandmother prefers plenty of rowdy carousing, then that too could be convivial. On the other hand, convivial would not be the right word to choose for describing a funeral (in almost all circumstances). Even if everyone at the funeral is friendly, convivial would imply a kind of levity and pleasure which would be entirely inappropriate to the occasion.
Even though a funeral should not be convivial, it would be perfectly acceptable for you yourself to be convivial at a funeral. When an individual person is convivial it doesn't mean that they are partying or being jovial at a specific moment, but rather it means that they are the kind of person who enjoys partying and being jovial when given the opportunity. If you like being with other people, laughing with them, and making them laugh you are a convivial person. If, on the other hand, you prefer to hide behind shrubbery and chase people out of your yard, you are probably not convivial. Convivial people like to have a good time, and the best place for them to do that is at a convivial social gathering of some kind.
Example: The reception after the wedding, replete with crying, laughing, dancing, drinking, and eating, was an emotional and convivial time for everyone.
Example: The party really livened up after the ever convivial Catherine arrived and began chattering away and introducing people to one another.
Convivial derives from the late Latin convivialis meaning "pertaining to a feast." Convivialis is in turn related to the Latin word for a banquet or party, convivium, which is a combination of the prefix "com" meaning "with or together" and "vivere" meaning "to live." The first recorded use of convivial in English was in the late 17th century, and it gained the meaning of "sociable" in the 18th century. Convive, "(to) feast together", made an appearance in English too, but it is now obsolete.
Conviviality: Conviviality is a noun referring to the quality of being friendly and vivacious.
Example: Although Spencer actually hates people, he cultivates a false appearance of conviviality in order to excel at his job as a company representative.
From Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities:
Exceedingly red-eyed and grim, as if he had been up all night at a party which had taken anything but a convivial turn, Jerry Cruncher worried his breakfast rather than ate it, growling over it like any four-footed inmate of a menagerie.
Here, Dickens negates convivial to indicate that the hypothetical party in question ended in a non-companionable, unpleasant way, leaving Jerry in a grim state.
Con - as in Concurrently and Companionship: implies "with or together."
Vivi - as in Vivid and Vivacious: implies "living or liveliness."
Combine them together: Convivial "Being lively together"
Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of convivial. Did you use convivial in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.