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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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

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 For your airport or station transfer, a gratuity of $5 - $10 is customary, based on service. Greg Tepper, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Prague," 5 Oct. 2016 Ben Penn, a reporter for Bloomberg Law, discusses a Department of Labor rule that could allow some employers to skim tips from employees who are paid in gratuities., "$1.3 Trillion Budget Includes Provision on Tip Skimming (Audio)," 22 Mar. 2018 Some have tipped big for Jesus and others for mysterious reasons, but this customer's motivation for leaving a large gratuity is quite touching. Marisa Russell, Woman's Day, "Waitress Receives Generous Tip In Honor Of Customer's Late Brother," 11 Mar. 2015 Where dining comes with a customary 18 to 20 percent gratuity, spa treatments never seem to be quite as straightforward. Rebecca Norris, Allure, "Here's How Much You Should be Tipping for Beauty Services," 13 July 2018 The trip includes a round trip deluxe motor coach, $20 in gaming vouchers, $15 in food vouchers and driver's gratuity. Courant Community, "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 10 July 2018 Tickets are $90 per person, with gratuity included. Leeanne Griffin,, "CT Restaurants To Host Dinners In Tribute To Anthony Bourdain," 25 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

11 Nov 2018

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

: an amount of money given to a person (such as a waiter or waitress) who has performed a service

: an amount of money given to a retiring soldier or employee

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