Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Providing physical comfort.
  • adjective Free from stress or anxiety; at ease.
  • adjective Producing feelings of ease or security.
  • adjective Sufficient to provide financial security.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Being in a state of ease or moderate enjoyment, as after sickness or pain; enjoying contentment and ease or repose.
  • Cheerful; disposed to enjoyment.
  • Attended with or producing comfort; free from or not causing disquiet of body or mind: as, to be in comfortable circumstances.
  • Giving comfort; cheering; affording help, ease, or consolation; serviceable.
  • Of things.
  • Synonyms Pleasant, agreeable, grateful.
  • noun A thickly wadded and quilted bedcover. Also comfort and comforter.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective obsolete Strong; vigorous; valiant.
  • adjective obsolete Serviceable; helpful.
  • adjective Affording or imparting comfort or consolation; able to comfort; cheering.
  • adjective In a condition of comfort; having comforts; not suffering or anxious; hence, contented; cheerful.
  • adjective United States Free, or comparatively free, from pain or distress; -- used of a sick person.
  • noun United States A stuffed or quilted coverlet for a bed; a comforter; a comfort.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun US A stuffed or quilted coverlet for a bed; a comforter.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective free from stress or conducive to mental ease; having or affording peace of mind
  • adjective more than adequate
  • adjective providing or experiencing physical well-being or relief (`comfy' is informal)
  • adjective in fortunate circumstances financially; moderately rich
  • adjective sufficient to provide comfort

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

comfort +‎ -able

Examples

  • (for the general had chosen them) that they were each and all of them in their way comfortable, in the full English spirit of the word, and according to the French explanation of _comfortable_, given to us by the Duchess d'Abrantes, _convenablement bon_; but in compassion to Mr. Churchill's fastidious restlessness, she would now show him a perfection of

    Tales and Novels — Volume 10

  • But that said, yes, for some people consuming porn can be totally unproductive, and the only way to remain comfortable is to forego it.

    Penn and Teller to Defend Adult Industry on “Bullshit” « Skid Roche

  • I take my stand, therefore, upon this incontestable fact, that the man of leisure becomes daily more reluctant to undergo fatigue, that he eagerly seeks for what he calls the comfortable, that is to say for every means of sparing himself the play and the waste of the organs.

    glorifying terrorism

  • Due to the many hassles of modern air travel, my wife and I fly as absolutely little as we can but when we do fly we use Southwest Airlines whose coach seats are a bit more comfortable than other airlines we've flown using the word comfortable loosely.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • Crocker earns what he describes as a "comfortable" living from his cut of YouTube profits through their Partnership Programme.

    Meet Chris Crocker: Britney's champion and YouTube sensation

  • As the philosopher was well aware, there also existed what he referred to as the comfortable habits of mind by which women were regarded as second-class citizens.

    The Snowbank

  • McAndrew: I had what you call a comfortable fastball that was live when I kept it down.

    The Neyer/James Guide To Pitchers

  • McAndrew: I had what you call a comfortable fastball that was live when I kept it down.

    The Neyer/James Guide To Pitchers

  • McAndrew: I had what you call a comfortable fastball that was live when I kept it down.

    The Neyer/James Guide To Pitchers

  • The South African Government said yesterday that when Mr. Mandela is fully recovered from TB he would be moved to what it called comfortable, secure accommodation where he would be able to see his family more freely.

    COMMENTS IN HARARE, NOVEMBER 25, 1988 (1)

Comments

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  • Who put the "ter" in "comf-ter-bull"?

    Given the spelling, you'd expect this word to be pronounced like "comfort" with the "-able" suffix on the end, but it's not even close to that. The T and the R aren't even in the proper order.

    I'd be interested to hear whether there's a particular rule of linguistics that explains this shift in pronunciation. Rolig? Qroqqa? Anyone?

    June 4, 2011

  • I say comfort-able, and people make fun.

    June 4, 2011

  • That's discomfiting.

    June 4, 2011

  • To answer Ptero's question, "Who put the 'ter' in 'comf-ter-bull'?", I have a couple theories, perhaps not mutually exclusive:

    a) It was our old friend, Mr Metathesis (the "r" and "t" sounds traded places): "com-ferta-bull" becomes "com-ftera-bull" becomes "comf-ter-bull"

    b) It's a kind of rhotic-dialect insertion, like the "r" in "idea", combined with the ellision of the "-or-" syllable: "com-fer-ta-bull" becomes "comf-ta-bull" becomes, rhotically, "comf-ter-bull".

    But I'm only a hobby-linguist, so I would wait for Ms Qroqqa (or, rhotically, Qroqqer) to chime in.

    June 4, 2011

  • I'd favor rolig's first hypothesis, if only on the basis that Spanish engages in this kind of metathesis all the time, e.g. milagro for miracle, or - my personal favorite - regaliz for "licorice".

    June 4, 2011

  • I looked up metathesis on Wikipedia, and found that "comfortable" is one of the examples they give to demonstrate metathesis in English. Wikipedia isn't all-knowing, but it's usually right, so I think this provides some fairly strong support for rolig's first hypothesis. Well done, rolig!

    Anyone have any alternative hypotheses to contribute?

    June 4, 2011

  • I might, but I'm not comfterbull saying.

    June 4, 2011

  • I think the metathesis theory is probably correct, but I also find it interesting that a non-rhotic speaker (e.g. British "received pronunciation"), would probably say, "comf-ta-bull" without any metathesis, but it parallels the rhotic "comf-ter-bull", which is the result (maybe) of metathesis.

    June 5, 2011

  • I still think there's metathesis going on, even for a non-rhotic speaker. In non-rhotic dialects, the "r" is not spoken, but it's still present in the speaker's mind, as an unspoken phoneme... right? (I could be wrong about this, but I'm pretty sure that's how it works.) And if that's so, then it seems plausible that a group of RP speakers might experience metathesis with those two phonemes, the /t/ and the /r/, even though one of them is never spoken.

    June 5, 2011

  • A kind of ghost metathesis, Ptero?

    June 5, 2011