et·​i·​quette | \ˈe-ti-kət, -ˌket\

Definition of etiquette 

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for etiquette


form, manner, mores, proprieties

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

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

One of the key etiquette rules that the newlyweds are seemingly yet to make up their mind about following is the unspoken restriction on PDA between royals and their spouses at official events. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Shy PDA is the Sweetest Part of Their RAF Centenary Appearance," 10 July 2018 Finally, Janet Wu had a report on business etiquette., "Bloomberg Baystate Business: Self-Driving Cars," 21 June 2018 Companies say this accountability will make users comply with parking etiquette. Natasha Mascarenhas,, "S.F. scooter companies promise parking, Clipper Card use, charging and more," 20 June 2018 One stop on the tour will be in our neck of the woods: Dallas, Texas, where the Fairmont Dallas will offer three classes on etiquette from September 21st to September 22nd. Southern Living, "The Plaza's Etiquette Program Is Heading to This Southern City," 15 May 2018 Joining the world's most famous family requires learning the proper etiquette for every possible situation. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Quiz: How Much Do You Really Know About Royal Protocol?," 26 June 2018 Your appearance, grooming and even etiquette are game-changers. Liz Bentley /, NBC News, "Your Look Matters – Is it enhancing or hindering your value," 1 June 2018 Is there any hat-wearing etiquette worth knowing about? Kate Samuelson, Time, "A Royal Hat Designer Breaks Down the Fancy Hats You'll See at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Wedding," 11 May 2018 How is tech etiquette different in Washington than elsewhere? New York Times, "In Washington, a Brighter Spotlight on Technology," 9 May 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about etiquette

Listen to Our Podcast about etiquette

Dictionary Entries near etiquette






Etna, Mount


Statistics for etiquette

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for etiquette

The first known use of etiquette was in 1737

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for etiquette



English Language Learners Definition of etiquette

: the rules indicating the proper and polite way to behave


et·​i·​quette | \ˈe-ti-kət, -ˌket\

Kids Definition of etiquette

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on etiquette

What made you want to look up etiquette? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!