Amiable vs. Amicable: A Pleasantly Simple Guide

, Staff Writer
Updated November 15, 2021
Amiable - Young Man Pushing Senior Man in Wheelchair vs Amicable -  Family Hanging Out in Backyard
    Amiable - Young Man Pushing Senior Man in Wheelchair vs Amicable - Family Hanging Out in Backyard
    Amiable: Westend61 / Getty Images / Amicable: Thomas Barwick / DigitalVision
    Used under Getty Images license

At first glance, amiable and amicable look like they could be different forms of the same word. Indeed, their meanings are quite similar. However, their meanings differ and so do their uses.

The Difference Between Amiable and Amicable

Amiable and amicable are both adjectives that come from the same root. Amiable comes from the Old French term amiable which means “trying to please,” and both amiable and amicable are derived from the Latin word amicus, meaning “friend.”

  • amiable - kind, friendly or sociable

  • amicable - pleasant or peaceable

When and How to Use Amiable

Amiable is defined as “having a friendly disposition” or someone or something that is “agreeable.”

  • Everyone likes him because he’s an amiable sort of person.

  • She was an amiable hostess capable of smoothing over even the most awkward interaction.

  • Their home has a very amiable vibe.


Using Amicable in a Sentence

The adjective amicable usually refers to the relationships or interactions between people and means “pleasant” as well as “without disagreement or discord.”

  • My parents have an amicable relationship, despite their divorce.

  • Although opinions were flying fast and furious, in the end it was an amicable debate.

  • We didn’t agree on everything, but still, we reached an amicable agreement.

Remember the Difference

Amiable and amicable are understandably sometimes used interchangeably since they both refer to friendliness and pleasantry. However, there is a way to remember the distinction between them.

The only difference between the spellings is a “c.” Since amicable applies to events and situations between multiple people, you can associate the “c” with words like “crowd” or “crew.”


Friendly Reminders to Choose the Correct Word

Choosing the right word can be difficult. That's why it's nice to have friendly reminders about how to distinguish between commonly confused words and choose the correct one. Once you review the basics, check out other commonly confused words like conscience and conscious or continually and continuously.