gracious

adjective

gra·​cious ˈgrā-shəs How to pronounce gracious (audio)
1
a
: marked by kindness and courtesy
a gracious host
b
: characterized by charm, good taste, generosity of spirit, and the tasteful leisure of wealth and good breeding
gracious living
c
d
: marked by tact and delicacy : urbane
2
: merciful, compassionate
used conventionally of royalty and high nobility
my gracious lord, the Duke of Windsor
3
a
archaic : pleasing, acceptable
b
obsolete : godly
graciously adverb
graciousness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for gracious

gracious, cordial, affable, genial, sociable mean markedly pleasant and easy in social intercourse.

gracious implies courtesy and kindly consideration.

the gracious award winner thanked her colleagues

cordial stresses warmth and heartiness.

our host was cordial as he greeted us

affable implies easy approachability and readiness to respond pleasantly to conversation or requests or proposals.

though wealthy, she was affable to all

genial stresses cheerfulness and even joviality.

a genial companion with a ready quip

sociable suggests a genuine liking for the companionship of others.

sociable people who enjoy entertaining

Example Sentences

This is not a surprise given the welcome, gracious atmosphere, the uncommon competence of the kitchen, with its familiar Little Italy Italian menu … and the restaurant's credible wine list. Mark Bittman, New York Times, 26 June 2002 If there are not too many in the group, you might inquire solicitously about their health. If you are in a particularly gracious mood, you might even give them a brief resume of your physical condition. Groucho Marx, letter, 15 Nov. 1951, in The Groucho Letters1987 Phoebe closed her eyes, seeing her father moving like a shadow among his guests, gracious, smiling, pouring wine and exchanging greetings. Judith Berry Griffin, Phoebe the Spy, 1977 The reception started in orderly enough fashion—gracious and leisurely. Paula Locker, the President of the Club, met me at the door, and I took my place in line with her, with Fishbait Miller doing the introducing. Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary, 1970 Thank you for your gracious hospitality. The magazine promotes gracious living. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Everybody came to set humble, happy, grateful, gracious and excited. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Nov. 2022 The Wall Street Journal, which had rejected The Post’s attack on Hunter Biden, has dismissed Mr. Trump’s fraud claims, and its conservative opinion page is nudging the president toward a gracious concession. Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2020 But Byrd, who imbued the role of Death with craggy wit, was gracious enough to join our Zoom conversation. Charles Mcnulty, Los Angeles Times, 28 Sep. 2022 The winner herself was, naturally, nothing but gracious about it. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 13 Sep. 2022 The heroes would be obviously gracious, self-sacrificing, and resourceful; the villains would be mean, ruthless, and destructive. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 21 Sep. 2022 Diamond and Shostak, who frequently worked with Drake there, described him as quiet, gracious, observant, and very intelligent. WIRED, 11 Sep. 2022 Drews said the museum has been gracious enough to pencil in the reunion for the last week of August every year, which keeps alive memories of the era but also helps those interested plan to attend. Marc Bona, cleveland, 22 Aug. 2022 Maybe the friend and the friend of the friend and the daughter of the friend will surprise you by being gracious and entertaining company. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 24 July 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Anglo-French gracieus, from Latin gratiosus enjoying favor, agreeable, from gratia

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3b

Time Traveler
The first known use of gracious was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near gracious

Cite this Entry

“Gracious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gracious. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

gracious

adjective

gra·​cious ˈgrā-shəs How to pronounce gracious (audio)
1
: marked by kindness and courtesy
2
: pleasing or attractive in motion or form
gracious ballet steps
3
: characterized by charm, good taste, and politeness
gracious living
graciously adverb
graciousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on gracious

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