Amicable vs. Amiable | Whats The Difference?

Have you ever had to pause when describing a friendly situation to consider the choice of amiable vs. amicable? Let’s discuss these two similar words and when to use them.

Amicable Definition

  • Amicable means “peaceable” or “friendly.” 
  • Amicable describes situations that could have turned out resentful or acrimonious.
  • Amicable and amiable have very similar meanings but are used in different ways. Amiable means “agreeable” or “friendly” and is used to describe people.

A lack of amicability is the cause of a lot of the world’s hardships. If the opposing sides were able to find amicable solutions, there would be fewer wars. Amicable is also used in terms of divorce as both sides try to get along despite difficult circumstances. 

The Meaning of Amicable

Amicable is a desire to avoid conflict and find peaceful resolutions to problems. Some common synonyms are “friendly” and “peaceable.” An amicable settlement would be a settlement that occurred in a friendly manner without a lot of fighting. There’s no room for arguing or being rude if you want to do something in an amicable way.

Amicable is an adjective amicably is the adverb form of the word. There are two nouns derived from amicable: amicableness and amicability.

Amiable vs. Amicable

Amiable and amicable are very similar words. They come from the same root word. Amare means “to love” in Latin. They are both adjectives. Their inflected forms are very similar—there’s amicably and amiably, amicability and amiability, and amiableness and amicableness.

Amiable and amicable also have very similar meanings. They are both synonyms for “friendly.” 

One difference between these two words is that amicable suggests friendliness in a situation where unfriendliness is expected. But amiable refers to the agreeable sort of friendliness that things or people might possess. When considering amiable vs. amicable, remember –  Amicable is an adjective that refers to relationships and situations. Amiable usually describes people and sometimes things.

Graphic showing the definition of amiable: The Hr representative was friendly and amiable

Graphic describing amiable vs. amicable but showing an example of the use of amicable: "The interview was pleasant and amicable"

Examples of Amicable in sentences

If you were more amicable, people wouldn’t be afraid to talk to you.

It’s a tough situation but at least everyone is trying to be amicable.


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By Patrice Riley

Patrice Riley is the pen name of Dr. Deborah Riley. She is a retired English professor that enjoys grammar, literature, and all things writing.

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