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

Essential Meaning of etiquette

: the rules indicating the proper and polite way to behave Her failure to respond to the invitation was a serious breach of etiquette. a book of etiquette telephone etiquette [=the proper way to behave when speaking on the telephone]

Full Definition of etiquette

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

Synonyms for etiquette


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The French word étiquette means "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 at 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 Rather than an attempt to exclude family members because their chromosomes are not the same as hers, this may simply have been an etiquette boo-boo. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 10 Jan. 2022 Heading into 2022, dating etiquette welcomes transparency and to-the-point conversations, especially as Americans navigate new COVID-19 variants. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 4 Jan. 2022 In which case, Mr. Lewis has a final bit of etiquette advice. New York Times, 24 Nov. 2021 While part of his mission is to educate the masses about the various fragrances on the market, Jeremy also lends his knowledge on more niche perfumery etiquette. Marilyn La Jeunesse, Allure, 13 Nov. 2021 Beyond the etiquette pointers, what about the actual bottle? Sara L. Schneider, Robb Report, 7 Nov. 2021 The training program includes learning service etiquette, emergency care, Covid prevention strategies, and basic psychological and physical health care. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 3 Nov. 2021 But if done with the right motivations and intentions, some people say it’s a piece of pandemic-era etiquette that should remain. Washington Post, 22 Oct. 2021 Elaine Swann, a lifestyle and etiquette expert, says yes, even if only for their own ego. Madison Feller, ELLE, 30 Dec. 2021

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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The first known use of etiquette was in 1737

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Etiquette.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for etiquette


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

More from Merriam-Webster on etiquette

Nglish: Translation of etiquette for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of etiquette for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about etiquette


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