et·​i·​quette | \ ˈe-ti-kət How to pronounce etiquette (audio) , -ˌket \

Definition of etiquette

: the conduct or procedure required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life

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Synonyms for etiquette


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One definition of the French word étiquette is "ticket" or "label attached to something for identification." In 16th-century Spain, the French word was borrowed (and altered to "etiqueta") to refer to the written protocols describing orders of precedence and behavior demanded of those who appeared in court. Eventually, "etiqueta" came to be applied to the court ceremonies themselves as well as the documents which outlined the requirements for them. Interestingly, this then led to French speakers of the time attributing the second sense of "proper behavior" to their "étiquette," and in the middle of the 18th century English speakers finally adopted both the word and the second meaning from the French.

Examples of etiquette in a Sentence

Her failure to respond to the invitation was a serious breach of etiquette. the couple exhibited poor etiquette when they left the party without saying good-bye to the host and hostess
Recent Examples on the Web Before heading out, participants are briefed on harp seal biology, etiquette, and safety on the ice. Jennifer Hayes, National Geographic, "Inside the fragile world of Québec’s harp seals," 19 Dec. 2019 Proper etiquette for pet guests (petiquette?) is similar to that of humans: Don’t leave stuff all over the house, no jumping on beds and keep howling at night to a minimum. Jura Koncius,, "Taking the dog with you over the holidays? Know your ‘petiquette’ first," 10 Dec. 2019 Proper etiquette for pet guests (petiquette?) is similar to that of humans: Don’t leave stuff all over the house, no jumping on beds and keep howling at night to a minimum. Jura Koncius, Washington Post, "Dog traveling with you over the holidays? Know your petiquette.," 10 Dec. 2019 After receiving a makeover and various lessons in etiquette, her unique story is leaked to the press, suddenly making Mia the new popular girl at school. Alex Kane, USA TODAY, "How to watch The Princess Diaries," 12 Nov. 2019 As a point of both strategy and etiquette, my advice is a little more nuanced. Amy Lindgren, Twin Cities, "Working Strategies: Job search etiquette 2.0," 21 Sep. 2019 Tipping the owner is not technically considered proper etiquette, as the tip should go to the employees., "How much should I tip at the dog kennel? Dear Annie," 7 Aug. 2019 There used to be rules of etiquette for guests that included not bringing a pet to someone’s home unless it was invited by the host. Amy Dickinson, The Denver Post, "Ask Amy: Teen is troubled by bouts of acute anxiety," 20 Nov. 2019 Ajanku teaches kids the basics like grip, stance and swing, but also etiquette and life skills as well. John Wisely, Detroit Free Press, "As PGA tries to diversify, Rocket Mortgage Classic could provide boost," 27 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'etiquette.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of etiquette

1737, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for etiquette

French étiquette, literally, ticket — more at ticket entry 1

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Time Traveler for etiquette

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The first known use of etiquette was in 1737

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Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Etiquette.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for etiquette


How to pronounce etiquette (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of etiquette

: the rules indicating the proper and polite way to behave


et·​i·​quette | \ ˈe-ti-kət How to pronounce etiquette (audio) , -ˌket \

Kids Definition of etiquette

: the rules governing the proper way to behave or to do something

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