From felicity +‎ -ous.[1]





felicitous (comparative more felicitous, superlative most felicitous)

  1. Characterized by felicity.
    Antonyms: infelicitous, unfelicitous
    1. Appropriate, apt, fitting.
      Synonyms: opportune, (dialectal or obsolete) wealful
      • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, pages 19–20:
        Walter again pursued his way, lost in a very mixed reverie; sometimes writhing under an idea of degradation, in thus making a trade of his talents; and then, again, somewhat consoled by the pride of art; for how many felicitous and stinging epigrams arose in his mind!
      • 1921 September 29, “Pertrella” [pseudonym], “Albania. The Birth of a Nation.”, in The Near East: A Weekly Review of the Politics and Commerce of the Balkan Peninsula, Egypt and the Sudan, Morocco, Asia Minor, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Persia, and India, volume XX, number 542, London: [s.n.], →OCLC, page 383, column 2:
        The recommendations of the experts, however, have not proved very felicitous. [] [S]cant regard has been paid to Albania's much stronger claims, both on ethnographical and on strategical grounds, in the North, []
      • 1949, Daniel Lerner, “Organization for Sykewar”, in Sykewar: Psychological Warfare against Germany, D-Day to VE-Day (A Policy Sciences Book), New York, N.Y.: George W. Stewart, Publisher, →OCLC, footnote 16, page 63:
        [] Sykewar was not conceived, in [P. M. A.] Linebarger's felicitous phrase, as "warfare psychologically waged."
    2. Auspicious, fortunate, lucky.
      • 1831 July 2, John Robert Morrison, “XIV.—Some Account of Charms, Talismans, and Felicitous Appendages Worn about the Person, or Hung up in Houses, &c., Used by the Chinese”, in Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, volume III, London: J[ohn] Murray, []; and Parbury, Allen, & Co., [], publishers to the Society;  [], published 1835, →OCLC, page 288; republished London: Printed by J. L. Cox and Son, printers to the Royal Asiatic Society, [], 1832, →OCLC, paragraph 18, page 6:
        There are a variety of charms, of various kinds, for which there are no names and no particular uses; but they are considered felicitous, and are therefore worn by the poorer classes, who cannot buy the more valuable charms.
    3. Causing happiness or pleasure.
      • 1870 December 31, “Coincidences”, in William, Robert Chambers, editors, Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science and Art, volume VII, number 366 (Fourth Series), London, Edinburgh: Printed and published by W. & R. Chambers [], →OCLC, pages 841–842, column 1:
        The same chronicler [John Capgrave] makes Henry of Agincourt die a day earlier than he really did, apparently only for the purpose of manufacturing a sort of coincidence. 'His end fell well on the feast of Saint Felix, for he was felicitous in all things—felicitous in endowing the church, felicitous in ordering more clearly the divine offices, felicitous in the administration of justice, and in fine, felicitous in all his life.[']
      • 1920 July 8, Rabindranath Tagore, edited by [C[harles] F[reer] A[ndrews]], Letters from Abroad, Triplicane, Madras, Tamil Nadu: S. Ganesan, publisher, published 1924, →OCLC, page 5:
        He is looking the very picture of health, and on the whole his dreams are felicitous. For instance, last night he dreamt that he had been buying strawberries as large as gourds. It proves the magnificent vitality of his dreams.
  2. (linguistics) Of a sentence or utterance: semantically and pragmatically coherent; fitting in the context.
    Antonym: infelicitous
    This sentence is grammatical; it is just not felicitous.
    • 2008, Laurence Danlos, “Strong Generative Capacity of rst, sdrt and discourse dependency dags”, in Anton Benz, Peter Kühnlein, editors, Constraints in Discourse (Pragmatics & Beyond New Series; 172), Amsterdam, Philadelphia, Pa.: John Benjamins Publishing Company, →ISBN, →ISSN, part II (Comparing Frameworks), page 70:
      The aim of this paper is to compare rst [rhetorical structure theory], sdrt [segmented discourse representation theory] and discourse dependency dags [directed acyclic graphs] with respect to the following question: do these formalisms allow the representation of all the discourse structures which correspond to felicitous discourses and exclude those which correspond to infelicitous discourses?

Derived terms





  1. ^ felicitous, adj.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1895; felicitous”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.