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

This includes aspects of communication that are nuanced, and it is based on an inherent understanding of social or professional etiquette. Amy Lokey, Quartz at Work, "How to design AI tools for the workplace, according to Google," 21 June 2019 That etiquette is named as the enabler in cases such as this — and a lot worse ones — is unjust. Judith Martin, Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Etiquette doesn’t mean accepting unwanted embraces," 25 June 2019 Golf camp for youths offered next week Oceanside Golf Course offers Junior Golf Camps with PGA instructors to teach junior golfers basic skills, including proper etiquette and rules. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Concert featuring local composer to celebrate 50th anniversary of moon landing," 22 June 2019 Expressing your gratitude in writing is not only proper etiquette, but in this digital age of instant messaging, handwritten notes are a refreshing personal touch. Marni Jameson,, "Stationery wardrobe — part 2: Handwritten cards are the grace notes of life," 20 June 2019 Other aspects of the middle-class world continue to perplex me, like dinner party etiquette and knowing when to keep my mouth shut. Stacy Torres, Longreads, "How I Became ‘Rich’," 20 June 2019 Expressing your gratitude in writing is not only proper etiquette, but in this digital age of instant messaging, handwritten notes are a refreshing personal touch. Marni Jameson, The Mercury News, "In an age of instant messaging, hand-written notes are refreshing," 18 June 2019 Just be aware that flag etiquette requires that no other flag can be flown higher than the national flag and that the flag cannot touch the ground or any surfaces beneath it. Erin Davis And Brandon Griggs, CNN, "Here are 5 ways to show your patriotism on Flag Day 2019," 14 June 2019 Mind your etiquette when messenger Mercury meets your planetary ruler, warrior Mars, on Tuesday, June 18. Randon Rosenbohm, Allure, "What June's Scorpio Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 29 May 2019

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

12 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for etiquette

The first known use of etiquette was in 1737

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More Definitions for etiquette



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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Comments on etiquette

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characterized by aphorism

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