gracious

adjective

gra·​cious ˈgrā-shəs How to pronounce gracious (audio)
1
a
: marked by kindness and courtesy
a gracious host
b
: characterized by charm, good taste, generosity of spirit, and the tasteful leisure of wealth and good breeding
gracious living
c
d
: marked by tact and delicacy : urbane
2
: merciful, compassionate
used conventionally of royalty and high nobility
my gracious lord, the Duke of Windsor
3
a
archaic : pleasing, acceptable
b
obsolete : godly
graciously adverb
graciousness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for gracious

gracious, cordial, affable, genial, sociable mean markedly pleasant and easy in social intercourse.

gracious implies courtesy and kindly consideration.

the gracious award winner thanked her colleagues

cordial stresses warmth and heartiness.

our host was cordial as he greeted us

affable implies easy approachability and readiness to respond pleasantly to conversation or requests or proposals.

though wealthy, she was affable to all

genial stresses cheerfulness and even joviality.

a genial companion with a ready quip

sociable suggests a genuine liking for the companionship of others.

sociable people who enjoy entertaining

Examples of gracious in a Sentence

This is not a surprise given the welcome, gracious atmosphere, the uncommon competence of the kitchen, with its familiar Little Italy Italian menu … and the restaurant's credible wine list. Mark Bittman, New York Times, 26 June 2002
If there are not too many in the group, you might inquire solicitously about their health. If you are in a particularly gracious mood, you might even give them a brief resume of your physical condition. Groucho Marx, letter, 15 Nov. 1951, in The Groucho Letters1987
Phoebe closed her eyes, seeing her father moving like a shadow among his guests, gracious, smiling, pouring wine and exchanging greetings. Judith Berry Griffin, Phoebe the Spy, 1977
The reception started in orderly enough fashion—gracious and leisurely. Paula Locker, the President of the Club, met me at the door, and I took my place in line with her, with Fishbait Miller doing the introducing. Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary, 1970
Thank you for your gracious hospitality. The magazine promotes gracious living.
Recent Examples on the Web And there are a lot of locals that have been just such a blessing and have had such gracious hearts. Audrey Conklin, Fox News, 15 May 2024 John was a consummate gentleman and a gracious, truly caring guy. John Kissell, Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for gracious 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gracious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Anglo-French gracieus, from Latin gratiosus enjoying favor, agreeable, from gratia

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3b

Time Traveler
The first known use of gracious was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near gracious

Cite this Entry

“Gracious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gracious. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

gracious

adjective
gra·​cious ˈgrā-shəs How to pronounce gracious (audio)
1
: marked by kindness and courtesy
2
: pleasing or attractive in motion or form
gracious ballet steps
3
: characterized by charm, good taste, and politeness
gracious living
graciously adverb
graciousness noun
Etymology

Middle English gracious "having received divine grace," from early French gracieus (same meaning), from Latin gratiosus "enjoying favor, agreeable," from gratia "favor, thanks," from gratus "pleasing, agreeable, thankful" — related to grace, gratitude

More from Merriam-Webster on gracious

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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