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 That covers luxury suite accommodations, à la carte gourmet meals at a variety of specialty restaurants, premium branded beverages, 24-hour in-suite service, fitness centre access, taxes, gratuity, and more. Olivia Harrison,, "You Can Actually Visit The Mexican Resort From Love Is Blind," 26 Feb. 2020 Drawing particular scrutiny was the platform's practice of paying workers a certain amount for each delivery, including tips — the larger the gratuity, in short, the less DoorDash chipped in to cover the base amount. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "DoorDash and delivery workers still at odds over pay and tips," 13 Nov. 2019 Pre-film dinner combo, $30 includes tax, gratuity, and beverage. Greg Burnett,, "The Italian Film Festival will feature mostly comedies with a dash of drama," 30 Aug. 2019 Staff gratuities, bar drinks, shore excursions, Wi-Fi packages, and spa treatments can easily fatten up the cumulative bill. Condé Nast Traveler, "10 Things You Should Never Do On a Cruise," 18 July 2019 Miami-Dade County was planning to force MIA restaurants to get rid of auto gratuities, citing a 1975 code against soliciting a tip. Taylor Dolven And Douglas Hanks, miamiherald, "‘We just want to take care of our families.’ County OK’s automatic tips at Miami airport," 4 June 2019 The cost is $185 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. al, "Here’s where to drink in Birmingham for Valentine’s Day," 13 Feb. 2020 The credit is for on-board purchases including gratuities if desired. Richard Tribou,, "Cruise lines offer up Black Friday, Cyber Monday deals," 25 Nov. 2019 Heck, some establishments include standard gratuity in the check. Matt Villano,, "The latest Napa food trend: takeout windows," 16 Oct. 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

17 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gratuity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 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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