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


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

Most etiquette experts suggest this as a good rule of thumb for a first date. Michelle Singletary,, "Who should foot the bill on the first date?," 1 June 2018 Save this flag etiquette guide by pinning this image, and follow Country Living on Pinterest for more Memorial Day inspiration. Country Living Staff, Country Living, "American Flag Etiquette: Here's How to Properly Display the American Flag," 29 May 2018 Looking for the best places to shop, essential activities, and an etiquette guide? Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "Flight Deal: U.S. to Hong Kong from $388 Round-Trip," 25 May 2018 Donald and Melania Trump don’t have much time left to cram on royal etiquette. Simon Perry,, "Donald and Melania Trump Are 'Really Looking Forward' to Meeting Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle," 6 July 2018 French President Emmanuel Macron gave a teenager a lesson on etiquette after the youngster used a nickname to address him. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Macron reprimands teen who called him by nickname: 'Call me Mr. President'," 19 June 2018 Some etiquette experts caution not to lose authenticity in pursuit of perfection. Anne Marie Chaker, WSJ, "Dad’s Solution to Buying Presents—Hire Someone Else to Do It," 11 Dec. 2018 Along with Historic Royal Palaces’ joint chief curator Lucy Worsley and BBC presenter Anita Rani, who will provide nightly updates from wedding venue Windsor Castle, the team will touch on everything from royal etiquette to wedding planning. Kate Stanhope,, "Royal wedding watch 2018: All the specials to see before the big day," 7 May 2018 Despite only being two and four, mini royals Princess Charlotte and Prince George have already shunned royal etiquette and convention on a number of occasions. Olivia Blair, Cosmopolitan, "6 ways Prince George and Princess Charlotte are modern royals," 10 Jan. 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

14 Jun 2019

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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 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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