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

  • adjective Charming, often in a childlike or naive way.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • That gives or is fitted to give joy, delight, or satisfaction; delightful; pleasing, agreeable, or attractive; charming; winning; sweet.
  • Kindly; gracious.
  • Joyful; cheerful; merry; lively; gay.

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

  • adjective Cheerful; merry; gay; light-hearted.
  • adjective Causing joy or pleasure; gladsome; pleasant.

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

  • adjective Charming; inspiring trust and approval; especially if in an innocent manner.

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

  • adjective charming in a childlike or naive way


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

[Middle English winsum, from Old English wynsum : from wynn, joy; see wen- in Indo-European roots + -sum, characterized by; see –some.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old English wynsum ("winsome, pleasant, joyful, merry"), from Proto-Germanic *wunisamaz (“joyful”), from *wunjō (“joy, delight, desire”), from Proto-Indo-European *wun-, *wenǝ- (“to wish, love”), equivalent to winne +‎ -some. Cognate with Scots winsome, wunsome ("charming, comely, pleasing"), Middle High German wunnesam ("winsome, joyful, delightful"), Old English wynn ("joy, rapture, pleasure, delight"), German Wonne ("bliss, delight, joy"). More at winne, winly.


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  • The one, Juliana, the only daughter of a retired sea-captain, he described as a winsome lassie.

    Novel Notes 1893

  • Then her arms dropped, and she looked straight into camera, her mobile face composed in an expression winsome and grave, and so light it might change with breeze.

    Temporary Wife Kilby, Joan 1999

  • She had about her that charm of manner which can only be described as winsome womanliness.

    Prudence of the Parsonage Ethel Hueston

  • Socola rose, extended his hand, drew his cloak about his slender shoulders and passed out into the storm, his dark face lighted by a smile as he recalled the winsome face of Jennie Barton.

    The Victim A romance of the Real Jefferson Davis Thomas Dixon 1905

  • Close against them and overpeering their tops were hollyhocks and dahlias; against these stood at lesser height sweet peas, asters, zinnias, coreopsis and others of like stature; in front of these were poppies for summer, marigolds for autumn; beneath these again were verbenas, candytuft -- all this is sketched from memory, and I recall the winsome effect rather than species and names; and still below nestled portulaca and periwinkle.

    The Amateur Garden George Washington Cable 1884

  • I told him he might bring me down another guest instead of the tailor, and he has brought a poor young pupil teacher, whom Tibbie calls a winsome gallant, but I am afraid she won't save him.

    Clever Woman of the Family Charlotte Mary Yonge 1862

  • They seldom laughed or twinkled and the nose that kept them company was equally sedate, being purely aquiline, but a mouth with dimpled corners upset the scheme entirely, while ripples of golden brown hair completed the picture of a healthy, happy youngster -- not radiantly beautiful but what people like to call "winsome," which is after all as good a word as most.

    Across the Mesa Helen Bagg 1935

  • He liked his "winsome" quality, and the fact that he seemed knowledgeable about everything from paper-making techniques to the latest legislation on gay marriage.

    NYT > Home Page By LOIS SMITH BRADY 2010

  • Diehard (the band) sling out great, buzzy songs, and couple them with the kind of winsome lyrics that lend credence to the idea that everything's going to be all right.

    Artrocker 2010

  • He has a kind of winsome smile and frequently jogs around the set, running from one side of the lawn to the other, and it doesn't feel like the obnoxiousness of a fidgety adult but the buoyancy of a wide-eyed kid.

    The House Next Door 2009


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  • You winsome, you losesome!

    December 30, 2006

  • "She who's winsome, she wins him..." - Wicked

    January 11, 2007

  • Funny, sog. I chuckle now because I was not here then.

    July 14, 2007

  • Chris Smither's song "Winsome Smile", last stanza:

    Time will wound all heels

    And it ain’t pretty

    With any luck at all

    She’ll find some dope that you can pity

    Your loss is measured in illusions

    And your gain is all in bittersweet intelligence

    And your winsome smile will lose some of its innocence

    Your winsome smile

    Your winsome smile will lose some of its innocence

    October 22, 2007

  • Wow, both Winsome Smile and I'm Not That Girl are really good songs. I thought it was wound all heals though (enallage).

    July 20, 2008

  • It's a pretty kind of word about which I bear, mysteriously, considerable indifference. To paraphrase the uselessness, I'm in the unabashed meh zone here.

    October 18, 2008

  • Gay.

    May 31, 2017