Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Suave; urbane.
  • adj. Affable; genial.
  • adj. Carefree and gay; jaunty.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Gracious, courteous.
  • adj. Suave, urbane and sophisticated.
  • adj. Charming, confident and carefully dressed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Characterized by courteousness, affability, or gentleness; of good appearance and manners; graceful; complaisant.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of gentle mien; of pleasant manners; courteous; affable; attractive; gay; light-hearted.

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

  • adj. having a cheerful, lively, and self-confident air
  • adj. having a sophisticated charm

Etymologies

Middle English debonaire, gracious, kindly, from Old French, from de bon aire, of good lineage or disposition : de, of (from Latin ; see de-) + bon, bonne, good (from Latin bonus; see deu-2 in Indo-European roots) + aire, nest, family; see aerie.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French de bon air "having good appearances" (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The term debonair was indeed coined for Powell, and Lombard makes for an adorable ditz.

    John Farr: A Wistful Champagne Toast to William Powell

  • Agnes is said of agna a lamb, for she was humble and debonair as a lamb, or of agnos in Greek, which is to say debonair and piteous, for she was debonair and merciful.

    The Golden Legend, vol. 2

  • Ricardo Montalban was perhaps best known as the debonair Mr. Roarke on the popular TV-show "Fantasy Island."

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  • Ricardo Montalban (88) actor best known as the debonair and mysterious Mr. Roarke on the popular TV series

    MINISTER OF RANTS

  • Ricardo Montalbán, a Mexican-born actor who starred in Hollywood dramas and candy-colored musicals in the 1940s and '50s and was perhaps best known as the debonair host of the TV drama Fantasy Island and as pitchman for the "soft Corinthian leather" of the Chrysler Cordoba, died Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure.

    HispanicTrending

  • Nancy Pelosi looks great, and Obama is "debonair" and has never been more bone-able.

    TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

  • The term "debonair" must have been coined for Powell, and Lombard makes for an adorable ditz.

    John Farr: The Best Depression-Era Comedies by Farr

  • As I said before, with your "debonair" pose and that flower in your lapel, you look a little limp wristed.

    Archive 2006-11-01

  • Then there’s Chief Otto Sanchez, and he is what I would call a debonair man with a flair for theatrics, his character is one you can’t help but like even when he calls criminals “evildoers” in such a dramatic fashion.

    Review: Mind Games by Carolyn Crane

  • Today's "debonair" incorporates charm, polish, and worldliness, often combined with a carefree attitude (think James Bond).

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

Comments

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  • It would be a nice complement to "Hats Off!" :-)

    March 20, 2009

  • I say make a list of hat uses, Milos.

    March 20, 2009

  • "Hats. They have two purposes: to be doffed and to be worn at rakish angles."

    From a Facebook group...what can I say?

    March 20, 2009