gra·​tu·​i·​ty grə-ˈtü-ə-tē How to pronounce gratuity (audio)
plural gratuities
: something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service
especially : tip
added a gratuity for the server

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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 On the screen, additional gratuity options appeared. Zach Helfand, The New Yorker, 25 Dec. 2023 For some hotels and resorts, the nightly rate covers all food, activities, and gratuities. Lydia Mansel, Travel + Leisure, 27 Jan. 2024 Rather than pay restaurant servers and other hospitality workers a living wage, gratuities became the wage itself rather than a bonus. Scott Hocker, theweek, 25 Jan. 2024 Cost is $60 per person, including one cookbook, plus tax and gratuity. Jill Wendholt Silva, Kansas City Star, 24 Jan. 2024 How much to tip at an all-inclusive hotel or resort Range: $1 to $5 per interaction Some all-inclusives resorts will include gratuity on your bill, while others might prohibit tipping entirely. Kevin J. Ryan,, 2 Dec. 2023 California’s gratuity law requires that nonmanagerial service staff receive their tips in full, and employers may not keep any portion of those tips. Carly Olson, Los Angeles Times, 14 Aug. 2023 In addition to the automatic gratuities, travelers are charged a 20 percent tip for all beverages, mini bar purchases, and beverage packages. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 6 July 2023 But not everyone realizes there is a gratuity percentage expected. Sabrina Weiss, Peoplemag, 6 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gratuity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see gratuitous

First Known Use

1540, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gratuity was in 1540

Dictionary Entries Near gratuity

Cite this Entry

“Gratuity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


plural gratuities
: something given freely
especially : tip entry 10

More from Merriam-Webster on gratuity

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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