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

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Synonyms for etiquette


form, manner, mores, proprieties

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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

Appearing at a book event in London's Southbank Centre, Obama talked about meeting the queen in 2009 and again in 2016, and described how overwhelming all of the etiquette associated with such a high-profile encounter can be. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "The Queen Reportedly Thinks Royal Protocol Is 'Rubbish'," 4 Dec. 2018 Between the five courses, which included seared salmon and a fried risotto ball, Ms. Hunter slipped in some etiquette pointers for her son. Alina Dizik, WSJ, "High-End Dining for the High-Chair Set," 3 Apr. 2018 This film is thoughtful about contemporary teen dating etiquette. Constance Grady, Vox, "Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before might be the best teen romance of the decade," 19 Aug. 2018 And over the last decade, Facebook has successfully slid into the standard exchange of niceties that make up contemporary etiquette. Michael Andor Brodeur,, "The death of the acquaintance in the Facebook era," 25 May 2018 Precious few occasions allow etiquette-conscious adults to don bibs, eat with their hands, pound on their food and just plain make a big ol’ mess. Indianapolis Star, "RECIPES: Backyard Crab Bash," 1 May 2018 These are wonderful times to engage in meaningful family conversations that lead to joint accountability toward one another and provide opportunities to learn social etiquette. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "The Parkland shooting inspires school leader to campaign against violent video games | Miami Herald," 28 Feb. 2018 Put Down the Hot Dog—and the Cell Phone The biggest National Anthem etiquette no-nos involve failing to give it your full attention. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "National Anthem Etiquette: How to Properly Honor 'The Star-Spangled Banner'," 5 Nov. 2018 But the children aren’t the only ones learning proper royal etiquette. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Prince George and Princess Charlotte must bow, curtsy to Queen Elizabeth by age 5, report says," 31 July 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.

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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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Dictionary Entries near etiquette






Etna, Mount


Statistics for etiquette

Last Updated

8 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for etiquette

The first known use of etiquette was in 1737

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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

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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).


a servile follower or underling

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