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

Tickets are $73 (which includes tax, gratuity and a donation to Forgotten Harvest). Detroit Free Press, "Top 10 Takeover: Maty's African Restaurant tickets on sale now," 13 July 2018 Cost to attend is $50 per person, including driver gratuity. Courant Community, "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 24 Apr. 2018 Ticket prices do not include gratuity. 860-838-4023, Leeanne Griffin,, "Who's Serving Easter Brunch And Dinner In Connecticut?," 19 Mar. 2018 Also, don't allow the bartenders to leave a tip bowl on the bar; their gratuity should be written into your contract with the caterer or venue. Myka Meier, Harper's BAZAAR, "All Your Wedding Etiquette Questions Asked & Answered," 31 Oct. 2018 While the industry does seem to be improving slightly, thanks to the growing realization around the mistreatment of nail salon workers, tipping your nail tech a fair cash gratuity can only help. Jennifer Lance, Glamour, "What No One Tells You About Tipping at the Nail Salon," 12 Dec. 2018 American Cruise Lines boasts a highly inclusive format with accommodations, meals, beer and wine with dinner; pre- and post-dinner alcoholic drinks, gratuities and on-board WiFi included in the fare. Gene Sloan, USA TODAY, "Photo tour: Inside American Constellation, an intimate new cruise ship sailing to Alaska," 17 May 2018 Prices start at $2,500 a person, and include meals, alcohol and gratuities. New York Times, "A Tale of Three Cities, With a Ship as Home Base," 6 Mar. 2018 The sub-minimum wage marked a major change to tipping culture in America, essentially turning customer gratuities into wage subsidies. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "DC repealed a ballot measure giving restaurant workers a raise. But it might be back.," 12 Dec. 2018

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

15 Apr 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).


to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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