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

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Synonyms for gratuity


perquisite, tip

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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

In place of gratuities, there’s a 20% service charge added to every check. Scott Mcmurren, Anchorage Daily News, "Everyone’s got their go-to Seattle spots. Here are a few more.," 24 Aug. 2019 Instead of tipping her waitresses to show appreciation, one New York woman allegedly left a $5,000 gratuity in an act of revenge against her boyfriend. Kristin Lam, USA TODAY, "A $5K tip for revenge? New York woman arrested for using boyfriend's credit card after argument, police say," 4 July 2019 Any tips or gratuities not specifically mentioned as included in the total Expedition price will be at the Participant’s discretion. National Geographic, "Africa by Private Jet - 2020 Departure," 19 Apr. 2019 Details: $90 total per person (including tax and gratuity). al, "Bendy’s Cookies & Cream has reopened, plus more Birmingham weekend eats," 16 Aug. 2019 Tickets for this dinner cost $115 per person and include wines with each course, tax and gratuity., "Tickets now on sale for Cleveland Italian Film Festival 2019, coming to three theaters Sept. 5-26," 9 Aug. 2019 The dinner is $120/per person plus tax and gratuity. Shauna Stuart |,, "Chef Rita Bernhardt will host her first wine dinner at Satterfield’s," 11 July 2019 Dinners start at $210, including gratuity, with an optional beverage pairing for $120. Janelle Bitker,, "James Syhabout looks back on finding his voice at 10-year-old Commis," 9 July 2019 Folk has garnered much attention for eschewing gratuity and instituting a flat service charge in its place. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "2 Detroit chefs make list of black chefs changing food in America," 17 July 2019

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.

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First Known Use of gratuity

1540, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gratuity

see gratuitous

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Statistics for gratuity

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gratuity

The first known use of gratuity was in 1540

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on gratuity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gratuity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gratuity

Spanish Central: Translation of gratuity

Nglish: Translation of gratuity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gratuity for Arabic Speakers

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).


concealment of treason or felony

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