Simple Definition of genteel
: of or relating to people who have high social status
: pretending or trying to have the qualities and manners of people who have high social status
: having a quietly appealing or polite quality
Full Definition of genteel
1 a : having an aristocratic quality or flavor : stylish b : of or relating to the gentry or upper class c : elegant or graceful in manner, appearance, or shape d : free from vulgarity or rudeness : polite
2 a : maintaining or striving to maintain the appearance of superior or middle-class social status or respectability b (1) : marked by false delicacy, prudery, or affectation (2) : conventionally or insipidly pretty <timid and genteel artistic style>
Examples of genteel in a sentence
a person of genteel upbringing
She was born into a genteel family.
an elderly woman living in genteel poverty
speaking in a genteel accent
They lived in a more genteel era.
the genteel manners of an old southern gentleman
Did You Know?
In Roman times, the Latin noun gens was used to refer to a clan, a group of related people. Its plural "gentes" was used to designate all the people of the world, particularly non-Romans. An adjective form, "gentilis," applied to both senses. Over time, the adjective was borrowed and passed through several languages. It came into Old French as gentil, a word that then meant "high-born" (in modern French it means "nice"); that term was carried over into Anglo-French, where English speakers found and borrowed it in the 16th century.
Origin of genteel
Middle French gentil gentle
First Known Use: 1599
Rhymes with genteel
aiguille, all-wheel, anneal, appeal, big deal, big wheel, bilge keel, bonemeal, bonspiel, cam wheel, Castile, cartwheel, chainwheel, chenille, cogwheel, conceal, congeal, cornmeal, done deal, eared seal, enwheel, fifth wheel, fish meal, flywheel, forefeel, for real, four-wheel, freewheel, fur seal, get real, good deal, great seal, handwheel, harp seal, ideal, inchmeal, mild steel, mill wheel, misdeal, mobile, Mobile, monk seal, mouthfeel, New Deal, newsreel, nosewheel, oatmeal, O'Neal, pastille, piecemeal, pinwheel, prayer wheel, raw deal, repeal, reveal, schlemiel, self-heal, side-wheel, singspiel, somedeal, spike heel, stabile, tahsil, Tar Heel, thumbwheel, unreel, unseal, worm wheel
GENTEEL Defined for Kids
Definition of genteel for Students
1 : relating to the upper classes <a genteel family>
2 : having an elegant, tasteful, or polite quality <genteel behavior>
Seen and Heard
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