genteel

[ jen-teel ]
/ dʒɛnˈtil /

adjective

belonging or suited to polite society.
well-bred or refined; polite; elegant; stylish.
affectedly or pretentiously polite, delicate, etc.

Origin of genteel

1590–1600; < French gentil; see gentle
Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for genteel

British Dictionary definitions for genteel

genteel

/ (dʒɛnˈtiːl) /

adjective

affectedly proper or refined; excessively polite
respectable, polite, and well-breda genteel old lady
appropriate to polite or fashionable societygenteel behaviour
Derived Formsgenteelly, adverbgenteelness, noun

Word Origin for genteel

C16: from French gentil well-born; see gentle
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

Word Origin and History for genteel

genteel


adj.

1590s, from Middle French gentil "stylish, fashionable, elegant; nice, graceful, pleasing," from Old French gentil "high-born, noble" (11c.); a reborrowing of the French word that had early come into English as gentle (q.v.), with French pronunciation and stress preserved to emphasize the distinction. Cf. also jaunty; gentile. OED 2nd ed. reports genteel "is now used, except by the ignorant, only in mockery" (a development it dates from the 1840s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper