grav·​i·​tas ˈgra-və-ˌtäs How to pronounce gravitas (audio)
: high seriousness (as in a person's bearing or in the treatment of a subject)
had the gravitas of a deep thinker

Did you know?

This word comes to us straight from Latin. Among the Romans, gravitas was thought to be essential to the character and functions of any adult (male) in authority. Even the head of a household or a low-level official would strive for this important quality. We use gravitas today to identify the same solemn dignity in men and women.

Examples of gravitas in a Sentence

The new leader has an air of gravitas that commands respect. a comic actress who lacks the gravitas for dramatic roles The new leader has a certain gravitas.
Recent Examples on the Web But this reboot had gravitas, for Larroquette at least. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, 16 Jan. 2023 On the other hand, use of science within advertising somehow bestows upon the product a higher status, a gravitas, the excitement that this thing that the consumer must have is one of a kind, a rare breakthrough discovery. Chris Mooney, Discover Magazine, 10 June 2011 As Agathe comes to understand the extent of her troubles, Exarchopoulos’ performance achieves a sorrowful gravitas. Jon Frosch, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Jan. 2023 Henriksen plays his part to the hilt here, bringing a gravitas that few actors would consider bringing to the role of a shoot-'em-up movie villain. Declan Gallagher,, 11 Jan. 2023 More competent and less malleable than Henry, Potter had a gravitas befitting a show that was growing in ambition. James Poniewozik, New York Times, 16 Sep. 2022 Some fiction podcasts ape true crime, borrowing that genre’s structure and tropes in order to achieve a suspenseful gravitas. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 14 July 2022 His range was wide, but Hall, who had a natural gravitas, often played men in suits, trench coats and lab coats. Jake Coyle, Chicago Tribune, 13 June 2022 Baseball holds a particular gravitas in the world of sports. Aj Willingham, CNN, 8 May 2022 See More

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

Word History


Latin — see gravity

First Known Use

1869, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gravitas was in 1869

Dictionary Entries Near gravitas

Cite this Entry

“Gravitas.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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