Definition of gratuitous
1a : given unearned or without recompenseb : not involving a return benefit, compensation, or consideration <has gratuitous permission to pass over private land>c : costing nothing : free <The restaurant provided a gratuitous appetizer.>
2 : not called for by the circumstances : unwarranted <gratuitous insolence> <a gratuitous assumption>
Examples of gratuitous in a sentence
The film was criticized for its gratuitous violence.
<they will throw in a gratuitous box of chocolates when you spend $30 or more in their shop>
Did You Know?
Like gratitude, grace, and congratulate, gratuitous is a descendant of the Latin word gratus, which means "pleasing" or "grateful." When gratuitous was first used in the middle of the 17th century, it meant "free" or "given without return benefit or compensation." The extended meaning "done without good reason" or "unwarranted" came about just a few decades later, perhaps from the belief held by some people that one should not give something without getting something in return. Today, that extended meaning is the more common sense, often used in such phrases as "a gratuitous insult" or to describe elements of a story that are not relevant to the plot.
Origin and Etymology of gratuitous
Latin gratuitus, from gratus grateful
First Known Use: 1656
GRATUITOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of gratuitous for English Language Learners
: not necessary or appropriate
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