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[deb-uh-nair] /ˌdɛb əˈnɛər/
courteous, gracious, and having a sophisticated charm:
a debonair gentleman.
jaunty; carefree; sprightly.
Also, debonaire, debonnaire.
Origin of debonair
1175-1225; Middle English debone(i)re < Anglo-French; Old French debonaire, orig. phrase de bon aire of good lineage
Related forms
debonairly, adverb
debonairness, noun
1. urbane, suave, elegant, polished. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for debonair
  • You assume the role of a villain instead of the debonair agent 007.
  • Jack is looking debonair in a bow tie and velvet smoking jacket.
  • Only the most far-gone misanthrope could help liking him — his debonair good humor, open-faced charm.
  • The smile he then flashed was debonair, knowing and a little mischievous.
  • You never looked better — debonair, rested and happily worried.
  • Today, in neutral street clothes and hot-green shoes, he is positively debonair.
  • But it was his dapper manner, wry jokes and debonair look in the required tuxedo that drew mention.
  • His songs, with their witty lyrics and debonair style, are an advertisement for his personality and his public persona.
  • Gahan was debonair and feline, spinning like a figure skater and contorting his body, if not his voice.
  • Smith also cut a debonair figure ripe for the golden age of television.
British Dictionary definitions for debonair


adjective (esp of a man or his manner)
suave and refined
carefree; light-hearted
courteous and cheerful; affable
Derived Forms
debonairly, adverb
debonairness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French debonaire, from de bon aire having a good disposition
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for debonair

c.1200, "mild, gentle, kind courteous," from Old French debonaire, from de bon' aire "of good race," originally used of hawks, hence, "thoroughbred" (opposite of French demalaire). Used in Middle English to mean "docile, courteous," it became obsolete and was revived with an altered sense of "pleasant, affable" (1680s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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