pleas·​ant·​ry | \ ˈple-zᵊn-trē How to pronounce pleasantry (audio) \
plural pleasantries

Definition of pleasantry

1 : a humorous act or remark : jest
2 : an agreeable playfulness in conversation : banter
3 : a polite social remark exchanged pleasantries

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of pleasantry in a Sentence

“how are you” is merely a social pleasantry his after-dinner speeches usually include the sort of gentle pleasantry that raises a chuckle
Recent Examples on the Web In a different version of Washington — something in the ballpark of the old normal, whatever that was — the sentiment could be ignored as a boilerplate pleasantry., "WASHINGTON — After so much noise, a formal feeling fell upon the Capitol. The civil servants had entered the room.," 14 Nov. 2019 Miss Manners is afraid that this man’s attempt to make light of his inability to change his size — after a lifetime of people rudely suggesting otherwise — was his idea of a pleasantry. Judith Martin, The Mercury News, "Miss Manners: Large man joked about encroaching on our seats. I didn’t find it funny.," 14 Sep. 2019 The two women knew each other in passing, through front yard waves and occasional swapped pleasantries. USA Today, "In Indiana, a neighbor's small kindness saves a life," 22 Mar. 2020 Richmond police said the suspect followed the victim a short distance after exchanging pleasantries around 5 p.m. in the area of the 12500 block of San Pablo Avenue near Clinton Avenue. Alejandro Serrano,, "Man arrested in connection to Oakland, Richmond robberies cut hair, planned to leave state," 20 Feb. 2020 But pleasantries quickly took a back seat to intense game focus, says Probst, who divided the players into two tribes, Dakal and Sele. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'Survivor' premiere recap: Who lost, who found advantage, who's upset with whom?," 13 Feb. 2020 American pleasantries, pretty much by definition, are pleasant. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The Utter Weirdness of Small Talk in a Pandemic," 19 Mar. 2020 Richmond police officials said the suspect followed the victim a short distance after exchanging pleasantries around 5 p.m. Monday in the area of the 12500 block of San Pablo Avenue near Clinton Avenue. Alejandro Serrano,, "Richmond police release photo of man suspected in brazen gunpoint robberies," 12 Feb. 2020 As the stadium erupted with cheers a minute later, the Packers exchanged pleasantries with the Seahawks and then retreated to the locker room. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "For Aaron Rodgers and Packers, playoff run is return of something 'special'," 13 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pleasantry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of pleasantry

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pleasantry

Time Traveler for pleasantry

Time Traveler

The first known use of pleasantry was in 1594

See more words from the same year

Statistics for pleasantry

Cite this Entry

“Pleasantry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pleasantry


How to pronounce pleasantry (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pleasantry

formal : something (such as a greeting) that people say in order to be polite

More from Merriam-Webster on pleasantry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pleasantry

Comments on pleasantry

What made you want to look up pleasantry? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!