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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English comfortable, from Old French confortable, from conforter. By surface analysis, comfort +‎ -able.



comfortable (comparative comfortabler or more comfortable, superlative comfortablest or most comfortable)

  1. Providing physical comfort and ease; agreeable. [from 18th c.]
    This is the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in.
  2. In a state of comfort and content. [from 18th c.]
    What a great guestroom! I'll be quite comfortable here.
    • 1913, Mrs. [Marie] Belloc Lowndes, chapter I, in The Lodger, London: Methuen, →OCLC; republished in Novels of Mystery: The Lodger; The Story of Ivy; What Really Happened, New York, N.Y.: Longmans, Green and Co., [], [1933], →OCLC, page 0016:
      A great bargain also had been [] the arm-chair in which Bunting now sat forward, staring into the dull, small fire. In fact, that arm-chair had been an extravagance of Mrs. Bunting. She had wanted her husband to be comfortable after the day's work was done, and she had paid thirty-seven shillings for the chair.
  3. Confident; relaxed; not worried about someone or something.
  4. Amply sufficient, satisfactory. [from 17th c.]
    A comfortable income should suffice to consider oneself rich.
    The home team is ahead by a comfortable margin.
    • 2011 September 18, Ben Dirs, “Rugby World Cup 2011: England 41-10 Georgia”, in BBC Sport:
      When Hape sauntered over for a try after only three minutes it looked as if England were destined for a comfortable victory, but Georgia are made of sterner stuff, as they showed when running Scotland close in Invercargill last week.
  5. (obsolete) Comforting, providing comfort; consolatory. [14th–19th c.]
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, →OCLC, partition II, section 2, member 6, subsection ii:
      he was going to make away himself; but meeting by chance his master Plotinus, who, perceiving by his distracted looks all was not well, urged him to confess his grief; which when he had heard, he used such comfortable speeches, that he redeemed him e faucibus Erebi [].
    • 1699, John Dryden, Tales from Chaucer:
      a comfortable provision made for their subsistence
    • 1791, Ann Radcliffe, The Romance of the Forest:
      The commanding officer readily granted a reprieve, and Louis, who, on the arrival of this letter, had forborne to communicate its contents to Theodore, left it should torture him with false hope, now hastened to him with this comfortable news.
  6. (obsolete) Strong; vigorous; valiant.
  7. (obsolete) Serviceable; helpful.

Usage notes[edit]

Although the word comfortable looks (etymonically) like one of its senses could be synonymous with consolable, it does not have that sense; the absence of that sense is simply a lexical gap. In parallel, the same is true of comfortability and consolability, as well as uncomfortable and inconsolable.



Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


comfortable (plural comfortables)

  1. (US) A stuffed or quilted coverlet for a bed; a comforter.

Middle English[edit]


From Old French confortable, from conforter; equivalent to comfort +‎ -able.



  1. comfortable
    • 1470–1483 (date produced), Thom̃s Malleorre [i.e., Thomas Malory], “[Launcelot and Guinevere]”, in Le Morte Darthur (British Library Additional Manuscript 59678), [England: s.n.], folio 449, recto:
      IN Maẏ whan eúý harte floryſhyth́ ⁊ burgruyth́ for as the ſeaſon ys luſty to be holde and comfortable ſo man and woman reioyſyth and gladith of ſom[er] cõmynge wt his freyſhe floures
      IN May, when every heart flourisheth and burgeneth; for as the season is lusty to behold, and comfortable, so man and woman rejoice and be glad of summer coming with his fresh flowers.
  2. strong; vigorous
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Wyclif to this entry?)


  • English: comfortable