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[jen-til-i-tee] /dʒɛnˈtɪl ɪ ti/
good breeding or refinement.
affected or pretentious politeness or elegance.
the status of belonging to polite society.
members of polite society collectively.
Origin of gentility
1300-50; Middle English < Old French gentilite < Latin gentīlitāt- (stem of gentīlitās), equivalent to gentīl(is) (see gentle) + -itāt- -ity
Related forms
ungentility, noun
1. polish, grace, decorum, propriety. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gentility
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • What, in the name of gentility, can you know of fashionable life?

  • The boy, Leonard Bast, stood at the extreme verge of gentility.

    Howards End E. M. Forster
  • By that road, his progress to the goal of gentility would be smooth and simple.

    The Market-Place Harold Frederic
  • To me, this was a precious document; it was a patent of gentility at once.

    Confessions Of Con Cregan Charles James Lever
  • I knew that the gentility of the knock had taken both her and her mother aback.

    A Window in Thrums

    J. M. Barrie
  • Now, I must say that is the very tip-top of gentility and politeness.

    Strife and Peace

    Fredrika Bremer
  • I have seen in my own family that horrible mixture, gentility and Poverty.

  • She was shabbily dressed, with a trace of gentility in clothes and manner.

    Land of the Burnt Thigh

    Edith Eudora Kohl
British Dictionary definitions for gentility


noun (pl) -ties
respectability and polite good breeding
affected politeness
noble birth or ancestry
people of noble birth
Word Origin
C14: from Old French gentilite, from Latin gentīlitās relationship of those belonging to the same tribe or family; see gens
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gentility

mid-14c., "gentle birth," from Old French gentilité (14c.) or directly from Latin gentilitatem (nominative gentilitas) "relationship in the same family or clan," from gentilis (see gentle). Meaning "state of being gentile" is from 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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