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

When foreign dignitaries interact with the the royal family, traditional etiquette and deference are considered especially important. Meagan Fredette,, "Trump Ends Tumultuous U.K. Visit With A Breach In Royal Protocol," 14 July 2018 Many commentators said, in attacking his hosts, the interview had ignored all the usual diplomatic etiquette and conventions. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Thousands Turn Out to Protest Donald Trump in London," 13 July 2018 NBC News spoke to etiquette and royal experts to find out the do's and don'ts of a royal meeting. NBC News, "Trump is set to meet the queen. Here's what he shouldn't do.," 8 July 2018 This week, our staff duked it out over hotel etiquette and the conversation took a turn for the raunchy. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Things You Should Never, Ever Do in a Hotel: Travelogue Podcast," 6 July 2018 Weed etiquette and mores will evolve as the novelty wears off. Robin Abrahams,, "Miss Conduct’s common sense rules for socializing in the age of legal pot," 19 June 2018 Lipstein, impressed with Focused Athletics, began going to the nonprofit’s meetings to teach the young men etiquette and share his dress-for-success tips. Elizabeth Wellington,, "This future college footballer was too big for a regular tuxedo. So custom clothier Henry A. Davidsen made one for him | Elizabeth Wellington," 18 May 2018 The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018, comes with a world of etiquette and protocol for guests. Scott Harrison,, "Royal wedding: The invitation says 'day dress with hat.' Here are hats from other royal nuptials," 16 May 2018 In a meeting like this, etiquette requires Trump to wait until the queen offers her hand, then to shake it politely and move on., "Royal etiquette for the Trumps’ visit: Don’t kiss the queen," 13 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

20 Sep 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).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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