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

Adora is strong, tough, hotheaded, and a fish out of water in the world of princess luxury and palace etiquette, which are traits highly reminiscent of the title character in The Legend of Korra. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "Netflix’s She-Ra reboot follows closely in Steven Universe’s footsteps," 8 Nov. 2018 And with this new mode of social networking comes entirely new rules for etiquette. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "Do you send Venmo requests for less than $5?," 12 Oct. 2018 Here are the new rules for dinner etiquette in the age of smartphones. Mari Uyehara, Bon Appetit, "It’s Dinner, Put Down Your Goddamn Phone (Yes, You)," 5 Mar. 2018 Here’s some quick, common-sense advice from ride-hail drivers, passengers and etiquette pros. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Did Chinese spies infiltrate Apple and Amazon with tiny chips?," 4 Oct. 2018 One never touches the queen, or any royal, etiquette nitpickers declared. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "President Trump, Melania to meet Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle during UK visit," 6 July 2018 Much fun is made of the new age-y etiquette of the group. Tony Adler, Chicago Reader, "The members of Support Group for Men don’t get eviscerated, but what does happen isn’t much more edifying," 2 July 2018 Professionals and instructors will staff the course from 3 to 6 p.m. on June 30 and July 7 to teach the basics about equipment and etiquette. Nyssa Kruse,, "Goodwin Park Golf Course Offers Free Summer Lessons for Newcomers," 29 June 2018 Why visitors exhibit such vile etiquette leaves environmental stewards puzzled, frustrated and wanting a remedy. Kevin Spear,, "Florida nature spoiled by 'Charmin lilies' — used toilet paper," 22 June 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

13 Dec 2018

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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 nest or breeding place

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