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

Avoid interviews conducted over meals since managing the unspoken etiquette of dining can be a substantial distraction for those with autism. Katherine Breward, Quartz, "Employers should conduct job interviews to accommodate candidates with autism," 10 Sep. 2019 According to yacht expert Nick Jeffery of Nick Jeffery Yacht Publicity in Monaco, common etiquette is to photograph and post exterior shots only. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "How David Geffen's Yacht Photos Became a "Status Thing" in Hollywood," 23 Aug. 2019 Jane Austen’s classic novel of 19th-century British romance and etiquette may have seen countless film adaptations, but it’s never been made into an opera — until now. Mary Carole Mccauley,, "Top Baltimore arts events for fall 2019," 29 Aug. 2019 An individual with knowledge of both Hollywood and yachting etiquette says guests should pause before pulling out a smartphone. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "How David Geffen's Yacht Photos Became a "Status Thing" in Hollywood," 23 Aug. 2019 Thankfully for the cast, Major General Alastair Bruce, the royal equerry in charge of historical accuracy and etiquette, was on hand to advise on every tiny detail: which door to open, which fork to use, which chair to sit on and how. Jason Bell; Fashion Editor: Cassie Anderson, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Cast of Downton Abbey Reverses Their Signature Roles," 20 Aug. 2019 ADRIAN DENNISGetty Images The British royal family is known for having all kinds of rules, protocols, and etiquette procedures to follow. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Had to Memorize the Most Complicated Curtsying Rules When She Became Royal," 4 Aug. 2019 Those are the comfort levels that etiquette looks out for. Luke Winkie, Vox, "How to politely smoke weed," 2 Aug. 2019 The new leader of Britain’s House of Commons, known for his orate rhetoric and affinity for tradition, has issued a painstaking list of grammar and etiquette for his staff. Fox News, "UK lawmaker issues etiquette, writing guidelines that ban words including 'hopefully,' 'very'," 28 July 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

20 Sep 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

What made you want to look up etiquette? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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