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90s Slang You Should Know


[gruh-too-i-tuh s, -tyoo-] /grəˈtu ɪ təs, -ˈtyu-/
given, done, bestowed, or obtained without charge or payment; free; voluntary.
being without apparent reason, cause, or justification:
a gratuitous insult.
Law. given without receiving any return value.
Origin of gratuitous
1650-60; < Latin grātuītus free, freely given, spontaneous, derivative of grātus thankful, received with thanks (for formation cf. fortuitous); see -ous
Related forms
gratuitously, adverb
gratuitousness, noun
nongratuitous, adjective
nongratuitously, adverb
nongratuitousness, noun
ungratuitous, adjective
ungratuitously, adverb
ungratuitousness, noun
Can be confused
gracious, gratis, gratuitous.
2. unnecessary, superfluous, redundant; causeless, unreasonable, groundless, unprovoked, unjustified. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gratuitous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She had suffered so bitterly that a pang of merely sentimental woe seemed a gratuitous cruelty.

    The Ordeal Charles Egbert Craddock
  • "I shall not stay in the store," I replied, indignant at his gratuitous fling at me.

    Down The River Oliver Optic
  • Hence it is not a question whether the word "libera" can ever be understood in the sense of gratuitous.

  • "No," said Cass, hurriedly, with a crimson face and a sense of gratuitous rudeness.

  • Justice is gratuitous, but the means of obtaining access to justice are not.

British Dictionary definitions for gratuitous


given or received without payment or obligation
without cause; unjustified
(law) given or made without receiving any value in return: a gratuitous agreement
Derived Forms
gratuitously, adverb
gratuitousness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin grātuītus, from grātia favour
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 gratuitous

1650s, "freely bestowed," from Latin gratuitus "done without pay, spontaneous, voluntary," from gratus "pleasing, agreeable," from gratia "favor" (see grace). Sense of "uncalled for, done without good reason" is first recorded 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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