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

There were several moments in which pleasantries were exchanged after the completion of a play. Justice Delos Santos, The Mercury News, "Football: McClymonds’ defense leads the way against Marin Catholic," 31 Aug. 2019 The nighttime pleasantries continued until the wee hours as some were hoping for a visit from the Green Fairy. Maria Ward, Vogue, "Moulin Rouge! Premieres on Broadway With a Spectacularly Splashy Opening Night," 26 July 2019 The Brexit drama was mostly a whisper as the two exchanged pleasantries and Johnson cracked jokes that largely went over the heads of members of the traveling U.S. delegation. Washington Post, "Pence tiptoes past Brexit tumult for an oh-so-chipper chat," 6 Sep. 2019 What was intended to be an impromptu exchange of pleasantries turned into a 50-minute meeting, another historic first in the yearlong rapprochement between the two technically warring nations. Jonathan Lemire, Twin Cities, "At DMZ, step into history for Trump as he offers hand to Kim," 30 June 2019 Waller dispensed with the usual platitudes and pleasantries, hammering home his ideas for solving Mississippi’s most glaring problems and sounding almost liberal at times. Bob Moser, The New Yorker, "Mississippi’s Race for Governor Tests the Limits of Conservatism," 2 Aug. 2019 The next morning, after the two exchanged brief pleasantries, Harvey recalls, Meyer cut right to the chase. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Jack Harvey's quiet role in helping build Meyer Shank into exciting young team," 26 July 2019 While smiles and pleasantries will likely be in abundance, the two men have vastly different stances on the environment. NBC News, "Trump's tea with Prince Charles could get awkward over the environment," 3 June 2019 Her English skills are limited to nail salon words and basic pleasantries. Thembi Ford, Essence, "How My Vietnamese Nail Tech And I Bonded Over The Shared Experience Of Weaponized Whiteness," 28 June 2019

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

Statistics for pleasantry

Last Updated

23 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pleasantry

The first known use of pleasantry was in 1594

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 spread over or through

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!