gra·​tu·​i·​ty | \ grə-ˈtü-ə-tē How to pronounce gratuity (audio) , -ˈtyü- \
plural gratuities

Definition of gratuity

: something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service especially : tip added a gratuity for the server

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for gratuity


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Gratuity vs. Tip

Gratuity is a fancier and more formal word than tip. It occurs most often in written notices along the lines of "Gratuities accepted". Its formality makes it best suited for describing tips of the dignified, expensive variety. For the taxi driver who takes you to the superb Belgian restaurant, it's a tip; for the restaurant's maitre d', it's a gratuity.

Examples of gratuity in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Fentons Creamery posted about the generous gratuity on social media, thanking the customer for her kindness. Fox News, "California ice cream parlor receives $1G tip: 'She was just happy that we are still open'," 28 Mar. 2021 Pricing is per person or a la carte – depending on the restaurant – plus tax and gratuity, unless stated otherwise. Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Entertainment calendar: What’s going on in southeastern Wisconsin area this spring," 19 Mar. 2021 Tickets are $59 per adult, $39 for children, and include a buffet, nonalcoholic beverages, parking and admission, tax and gratuity. Linda Kessler, Dallas News, "Spring into action," 20 Mar. 2021 Valid identification is required for the promotion, which is valid for parties up to four and does not include alcohol, retail purchases, tax or gratuity. cleveland, "Cleveland-area restaurants plan discount for docs on National Doctors Day," 18 Mar. 2021 Live Rooms will have the same gratuity mechanism, an important consideration for creators concentrating on turning their social media fame into a payday—and wondering which app offers the best path toward getting paid. Abram Brown, Forbes, "Instagram Adds New Group Livestream Feature Amid Growing Pressure From Clubhouse," 1 Mar. 2021 Bartolotta Restaurants: Pricing is per person, plus tax and gratuity, unless stated otherwise. Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What’s going on in southeastern Wisconsin area this winter," 30 Dec. 2020 ICE Package: $85/person + $15 gratuity and tax includes ICEBAR entry (excluding 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.), open Premium Bar, Champagne Bar and Midnight Buffet, favors and souvenirs (same as VIP). Amy Drew Thompson,, "Ring in 2021 with a bang & a bite," 23 Dec. 2020 The chef and owner said each person received $200 with the gratuity split between his 28 employees. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Guest leaves $5,600 tip for Ohio restaurant staff — just in time for the holidays," 20 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gratuity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of gratuity

1540, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gratuity

see gratuitous

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gratuity

Time Traveler for gratuity

Time Traveler

The first known use of gratuity was in 1540

See more words from the same year

Statistics for gratuity

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gratuity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gratuity



English Language Learners Definition of gratuity

formal : an amount of money given to a person (such as a waiter or waitress) who has performed a service
British : an amount of money given to a retiring soldier or employee

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on gratuity

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


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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