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


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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 The Chinese Neighbor, Executive Chef Bob Tam Chinese New Year Dinners The Chinese Neighbor Chinese New Year Dinner: 5 p.m. Jan. 26, $28.88 plus tax and gratuity. Erin Booke, Dallas News, "Prosper restaurant develops whimsical Chinese New Year dinner, including a pasta dish that will tingle your taste buds," 22 Jan. 2020 But another might throw in perks like prepaid gratuities, onboard credit, spa credits, shore excursion credits and a welcome bottle of Champagne. Erica Silverstein And Brittany Chrusciel, USA TODAY, "Cruises: What is wave season? And are these early-season deals really worth it?," 11 Jan. 2020 Cost is $450 per couple (including tax and gratuity). Leeanne Griffin,, "Connecticut restaurants celebrating New Year’s Eve with dinner, dancing and champagne toasts," 9 Dec. 2019 The details are as follows: Three day, two night stay at Caesars Resort/Hotel, three shows, $50 slot bonus, $50 meal vouchers, cancellation protection and driver's gratuity included., "Community News For The East Hartford Edition," 4 Dec. 2019 Breakfast is $10 for adults, $5 for children 4 and older and free for kids 3 and younger (alcoholic beverages and gratuity are not included; cash only). Erika Butler,, "Bel Air to kicks off holiday season this weekend Christmas parade, Festival of Trees, new Winter Wonderland," 28 Nov. 2019 How Much to Tip Hotel Housekeeping Hotel housekeepers are the great, unsung service pros—at least as far as gratuities go. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "Our Easy Tipping Etiquette Guide Tells You How Much to Tip in Every Situation," 6 Nov. 2019 With taxes and gratuity — also paid in advance — the cost of dinner is pushed just past $200. Josh Noel,, "A $155 meal at a brewery? Moody Tongue aims to redefine pairing of beer and food as Chicago restaurants open Tuesday," 12 Nov. 2019 Most prices do not include drinks, tax or gratuity. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "These restaurants are open on Thanksgiving Day or have meals to go," 20 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for gratuity

Time Traveler

The first known use of gratuity was in 1540

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Statistics for gratuity

Last Updated

4 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gratuity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for gratuity


How to pronounce gratuity (audio)

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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