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

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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

Normally, interactions with the royals during walkabouts don't go much beyond pleasantries, but today, while greeting the crowds at Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, Harry had a meaningful conversation with 6-year-old Otia Nante. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Prince Harry Comforts Six-Year-Old Boy in New Zealand Who Lost His Mother," 30 Oct. 2018 Ri and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were both attending the forum and briefly shook hands and exchanged pleasantries at the start of the meeting. Fox News, "The Latest: North Korea's foreign minister shoots back at US," 4 Aug. 2018 Imagine all the pleasantries of a relaxing summer afternoon- including the smell of the park and the flowers. Olivia Rassow, ELLE Decor, "Is This The Craziest Summer Seating You've Ever Seen?," 3 July 2014 For now, the next steps in the whirlwind process will be pleasantries. Gregg Re, Fox News, "Kavanaugh nod touches off Supreme Court confirmation battle; Dems warn of 'deaths of countless women'," 10 July 2018 Pompeo and his counterpart, Kim Yong Chol, revealed little about the content of their negotiations, leaving the focus on pleasantries and small talk as the two men grappled with the most pressing security issue facing the Asia Pacific. John Hudson, Washington Post, "North Korean negotiator teases and flatters as Pompeo enters second day of talks," 7 July 2018 State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said Mr. Pompeo and Gen. Kim had dined together the previous night for one hour and 45 minutes, exchanging pleasantries and jokes. Jessica Donati, WSJ, "Pompeo Seeks Some Details on North Korea’s Nuclear Promise," 6 July 2018 What menus ensure that your vegan sister and your paleo friend won’t exchange passive aggressive pleasantries? Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "Interior Designer Charlotte Moss Shares Her Secrets to Summer Entertaining," 7 June 2018 Unlike his predecessor, the NBA commissioner prefers pleasantries, equivocation and deliberate investigations to zingers, ultimatums and snap judgments. Ben Golliver,, "Two Years After Durant’s Decision, Adam Silver Changes Tune on Superteam Warriors," 11 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of pleasantry

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for pleasantry

Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pleasantry

The first known use of pleasantry was in 1594

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More Definitions for pleasantry



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).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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