grav·​i·​tas | \ ˈgra-və-ˌtäs How to pronounce gravitas (audio) , -ˌtas\

Definition of gravitas

: high seriousness (as in a person's bearing or in the treatment of a subject) had the gravitas of a deep thinker

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Mixing in pieces like an antique chest in the dining room or bench in the bedroom give the home a certain gravitas. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "This Colorful California Home Will Make You Want a Neon Coffee Table," 22 Mar. 2019 In The Sopranos, the mob boss’s office, located in the back of a pork market, likely wouldn’t have carried the same gravitas had it been attached to a cupcake shop. Diane Stopyra, Marie Claire, "Let Them Eat Cake (And Whatever Else They Want)," 24 May 2019 But for me, Sabrina had to stand up to the Dark Lord, the devil, and these very formidable opponents and someone like Kiernan has the gravitas and the assuredness to be able to do that. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, ""Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Star Kiernan Shipka Almost Played This Character on "Riverdale"," 15 Oct. 2018 The hushed gravitas and simplicity of the original restaurant had clearly been eradicated in favor of a more boisterous bravado. Steven Stolman, Town & Country, "A Clear-Eyed Assessment of the New Four Seasons—By Someone Who Loved the Old One," 7 Sep. 2018 The Rocky franchise has often brought a startling amount of gravitas and humanity to the underdog-sports-movie genre. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "The Verge fall movie preview, November 2018," 6 Sep. 2018 Crystal-clear hand-cut ice cubes carved with exacting precision add the final touch to a classic Negroni (made with just enough gin to give it gravitas), while the Manhattan strikes the perfect balance between sweet and dry. Melinda Joe, Condé Nast Traveler, "20 Best Bars in Tokyo," 27 Feb. 2018 While the gravitas of being a former professional athlete may have helped, so did Boone’s investing in the boys, periodically texting parents on how their child was developing, and using setbacks on the field as teachable moments. Billy Witz, New York Times, "Aaron Boone Has No Coaching Experience? Don’t Tell That to His Flag Football Team," 29 Mar. 2018 That's because Jordan has the gravitas to credibly translate the owners' viewpoint to the players and the players' viewpoint to the owners. Rick Bonnell, charlotteobserver, "Could NBA’s secret labor weapon be clear-the-air Jordan? Adam Silver hopes so," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gravitas.' 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 gravitas

1869, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gravitas

Latin — see gravity

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Statistics for gravitas

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gravitas

The first known use of gravitas was in 1869

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More Definitions for gravitas



English Language Learners Definition of gravitas

formal : a very serious quality or manner

More from Merriam-Webster on gravitas

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gravitas

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gravitas

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