gen·​teel·​ism jen-ˈtē(l)-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce genteelism (audio)
: a word believed by its user to be more polite or less vulgar than a common synonym
also : the use of genteelisms

Word History


genteel + -ism

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of genteelism was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near genteelism

Cite this Entry

“Genteelism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on genteelism

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Which Came First?

  • baby chick with a brown egg
  • hot take or cold shoulder?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?