gra·​tu·​i·​ty | \ grə-ˈtü-ə-tē , -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

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 Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "DC repealed a ballot measure giving restaurant workers a raise.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 Under this system, the customer essentially subsidizes workers’ wages with gratuities. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "DC repealed a ballot measure giving restaurant workers a raise. But it might be back.," 12 Dec. 2018 Winner will be solely responsible for all meals, incidental expenses, tips and gratuities, income and other taxes, ground and airline transportation, and all other costs and expenses not otherwise specified herein. Woman's Day, "Lakeway Resort and Spa, Lakeway, TX Getaway Giveaway," 2 June 2017 Wages for customer-facing jobs are often dependent on gratuities. Aditi Shrikant, Vox, "The case against cruises," 15 Nov. 2018 Guests will be leaving from East Windsor High School, 76 S. Main St.. promptly at 5:30 p.m. and returning by 1 a.m. The cost is $40 per person and includes coach bus transportation, food credit, casino credit and driver gratuity. Courant Community, "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 10 Apr. 2018 How much: $55 buys you Derby-themed passed bites, 2 mint juleps, games, tax and gratuity. Micaela English, Town & Country, "Where We're Derby-ing This Year...," 29 Apr. 2014 Interior staterooms are still available starting at $1,449, plus $285 for government fees, taxes and prepaid gratuities. Mary Forgione,, "Rock and heavy metal bands to rule the waves on Monsters of Rock cruise," 27 Apr. 2018 The Restaurant Opportunities Center contends that many employers do not pay workers the difference when gratuities fall short of minimum wage and that making workers rely on tips exacerbates racial and gender inequality. Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post, "D.C. voters approve wage increase for restaurant workers, defying elected officials," 19 June 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

4 Feb 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 deny responsibility for

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