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 But someone who has spent the time cultivating gravitas in their personal lives always stands out head and shoulders above the rest. Jon Michail, Forbes, "Gravitas: How To Cultivate It In Your Personal Life," 10 May 2021 White nectarine and citrus zest keep the palate bright, and distinctive delicacy balances significant weight and gravitas. Sara L. Schneider, Robb Report, "Exclusive: How to Get Your Hands on Santa Barbara’s Best New Pinot Noir and Chardonnay," 3 May 2021 Guy Pearce adds some gravitas as the Secretary of Defense. Lindsey Bahr, Star Tribune, "Review: Michael B. Jordan seeks revenge in 'Without Remorse'," 28 Apr. 2021 People remember headlines and look for depth and gravitas in the person delivering them. Yola Robert, Forbes, "Sunaina Sinha Haldea Is Smashing Private Equity’s Thick Glass Ceiling," 12 Apr. 2021 One way people have been adding some gravitas to their humble Covid-19 card is by laminating it. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "How and why to protect your vaccine card," 7 Apr. 2021 Cora has confidence and gravitas that poor Ron Roenicke lacked., "It’s clear that rehiring Alex Cora was the right move by the Red Sox," 14 Apr. 2021 Beginning with yourself has the deepest impact on your gravitas. Jon Michail, Forbes, "Gravitas: How To Cultivate It As An Executive," 7 Apr. 2021 And until leaders with the gravitas to challenge that conviction do so, too many reopening decisions will remain grounded in the past. Nat Malkus, National Review, "It’s Time to Rectify Our School-Closing Mistake," 17 Mar. 2021

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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Learn More about gravitas

Time Traveler for gravitas

Time Traveler

The first known use of gravitas was in 1869

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Statistics for gravitas

Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gravitas.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for gravitas



English Language Learners Definition of gravitas

formal : a very serious quality or manner

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gravitas

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