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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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 Public records and newspaper clippings show Millet and his wife were previously involved in running a company based in the San Francisco Bay Area which offered etiquette, manners and dance classes to sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders. Ramon Antonio Vargas | Staff Writer,, "Deputy shoots 79-year-old man in arm after man points gun at deputies during search: JPSO," 12 Jan. 2021 Participants will receive instruction on the basics of the golf swing, and the rules and etiquette of the game. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland, "And the winner is … the Petkovsek family for Best Christmas Lighting: Talk of the Towns," 31 Dec. 2020 Compliance, as with etiquette rules in general, is voluntary. Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Direct confrontation ill-advised," 28 Dec. 2020 Here, the entrepreneur shares her thoughts on old Hollywood muses, Zoom etiquette, and countryside style. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Fashion’s Chicest Florist on Jackie O, Tom Ford, and Dressing for Zoom," 24 Dec. 2020 Engaged, but not enamored of her fiancé, Sylvie (Tessa Thompson), the daughter of a record shop owner and an etiquette instructor, marvels daily at the wonders of television while also having encyclopedic music knowledge. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Sylvie’s Love’: A Black romantic drama for the ages," 23 Dec. 2020 Courts in Sacramento, California, went so far as to put out an etiquette guide advising lawyers to dress appropriately and avoid displaying anything in the background that could be perceived as offensive. Andrew Wolfson, USA TODAY, "Virtual court hearings in 2020 have it all: Nudity, beer, bikinis and barking dogs," 22 Dec. 2020 With nearly 11 million Americans officially considered unemployed and more than one a half million lives lost to COVID-19 worldwide, etiquette experts suggest not making light of the pandemic. Christina Estes, The Arizona Republic, "'Simple gesture': Why holiday card sales are expected to grow," 22 Dec. 2020 Have a conversation about cyberbullying, phone etiquette and the dangers of posting or sending messages without understanding long-term implications. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Parents see children’s compliance with cell phone rules slipping away," 25 Nov. 2020

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

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Etiquette.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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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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