gen·​til·​i·​ty | \ jen-ˈti-lə-tē How to pronounce gentility (audio) \
plural gentilities

Definition of gentility

1a : the condition of belonging to the gentry
2a(1) : decorum of conduct : courtesy
(2) : attitudes or activity marked by false delicacy, prudery, or affectation
b : superior social status or prestige evidenced by manners, possessions, or mode of life

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Examples of gentility in a Sentence

Education was considered a mark of gentility. was full of the same gentility and grace that marked the rest of the family
Recent Examples on the Web The Trump-hating Left also displays its gentility by violently attacking conservatives and Trump supporters. Deroy Murdock, National Review, "Go Ahead, Let Trump Make Your Day," 3 Mar. 2020 Yes, outwardly the pianist András Schiff appears to be the quintessence of Central European charm and gentility., "With rigor and fantasy in equal parts, pianist András Schiff returns to the BSO - The Boston Globe," 19 Oct. 2019 But in an American context, of course, politeness and gentility are racialized as white. Morgan Jerkins, Longreads, "‘To Be Polite By Ignoring the Obvious’: Jess Row on Unpacking Whiteness in Literature," 13 Sep. 2019 Arguments about states’ rights or fantasies of antebellum gentility were scythed by her storytelling. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "Toni Morrison not only remade American literature, she challenged us to resist the tenacity of racism," 6 Aug. 2019 And with that came a professionalism that wasn’t a great match for the show’s air of sportsmanlike gentility. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Why James Holzhauer’s long ‘Jeopardy!’ winning streak lost me," 6 June 2019 At 10 in the morning, the teeming fluorescent atmosphere brought to mind an OTB, minus the gentility. Mark Rozzo, Town & Country, "Hong Kong Foodie," 1 Nov. 2012 Here are nine post-millennial baddies whose wickedness is often cut with bits of decency, victimization, or gentility. Matthew Gilbert,, "The best villains on TV," 6 July 2018 After all, Southern gentility, hospitality, and good manners are as central to a Southerner’s identity as sipping a glass of sweet tea on a hot day. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, "Southern Traditions We Want to Bring Back–And You Will Too!," 7 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gentility.' 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 gentility

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of gentility was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Gentility.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce gentility (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gentility

: high social status
: a quietly appealing and polite quality or manner : a genteel quality or manner


gen·​til·​i·​ty | \ jen-ˈti-lə-tē How to pronounce gentility (audio) \

Kids Definition of gentility

1 : high social status
2 : a quality of elegance and politeness It was totally unlike them, this lapse from gentility— Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

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More from Merriam-Webster on gentility

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gentility

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gentility

Spanish Central: Translation of gentility

Nglish: Translation of gentility for Spanish Speakers

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