[ jen-teel ]
/ dʒɛnˈtil /


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

Nearby words

  1. genseng,
  2. genseric,
  3. gent,
  4. gent.,
  5. gentamicin,
  6. genteelism,
  7. gentes,
  8. gentian,
  9. gentian blue,
  10. gentian family

Origin of genteel

1590–1600; < French gentil; see gentle

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for genteelly

British Dictionary definitions for genteelly


/ (dʒɛnˈtiːl) /


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 genteelly



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