Amiable vs amicable

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Amicable and amicable are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and may be considered confusables. We will examine the different meanings of the confusables amiable and amicable, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Amiable means friendly or sociable; amiable is an adjective that describes a person’s personality or disposition. For instance, your best friend may be amiable. The noun forms are amiability and amiableness; the adverb from is amiably. The word amiable is derived from the Latin word, amicabilis, which means friendly.

Amicable also means friendly or sociable, but it is an adjective that refers to relationships between people or groups. For instance, a roomful of students who like each other is an amicable class. Neighbors who have a boundary dispute may seek an amicable solution—the inference is that the solution is possible because of a friendly relationship between the parties. The word amicable is also derived from the Latin word, amicabilis. The noun forms are amicability and amicableness; the adverb form is amicably.


Caught in the controversy is Chairman Steve Hontiveros, the most senior in our group and probably the most popular in international sports circles due to his amiable smiling front. (Manila Times)

All the classic tropes of the genre are here – the gang of loveable rogues led by an amiable-but-flawed hero, the impenetrable safe that only a socially awkward genius can crack, the stylised early exposition as Mr Big walks the thieves and the audience alike through how things should (but inevitably won’t) turn out, and the hordes of marauding zombies. (The National)

An amicable divorce framework would allow parties to move forward with candour and minimal acrimony, with the hope that more thought and less emotion can be allocated to the key matters of matrimonial asset division, maintenance and childcare arrangements. (Straits Times)

But with the proper support, Barnes said, those difficult conversations can often lead to an amicable agreement between both parties. (Martha’s Vineyard Times)