pleasantly kind, benevolent, and courteous.
characterized by good taste, comfort, ease, or luxury: gracious suburban living; a gracious home.
indulgent or beneficent in a pleasantly condescending way, especially to inferiors.
merciful or compassionate: our gracious king.
Obsolete. fortunate or happy.


(used as an exclamation of surprise, relief, dismay, etc.)

Origin of gracious

1250–1300; Middle English gracious < Old French < Latin grātiōsus amiable, equivalent to grāti(a) grace + -ōsus -ous
Related formsgra·cious·ly, adverbgra·cious·ness, gra·ci·os·i·ty [grey-shee-os-i-tee] /ˌgreɪ ʃiˈɒs ɪ ti/, nounnon·gra·ci·os·i·ty, nounnon·gra·cious, adjectivenon·gra·cious·ly, adverbnon·gra·cious·ness, nouno·ver·gra·cious, adjectiveo·ver·gra·cious·ly, adverbo·ver·gra·cious·ness, nounqua·si-gra·cious, adjectivequa·si-gra·cious·ly, adverb
Can be confusedgracious gratis gratuitous

Synonyms for gracious

1. benign, friendly, favorable, polite. See kind1. 4. tender, clement, mild, gentle.

Antonyms for gracious

1. churlish. 4. cruel. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gracious

Contemporary Examples of gracious

Historical Examples of gracious

  • "Unless it should be his gracious pleasure to dispense with obedience," replied Artaphernes.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • God will bless them, not because they have earned a reward, but because He is merciful and gracious.

  • I got closer to the Jap than I had ever been before; and by gracious, Linda!

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • "I do, gracious one," Bedr responded with businesslike promptness.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • The king was gracious, and thereafter she held his feet at all the banquets.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

British Dictionary definitions for gracious



characterized by or showing kindness and courtesy
condescendingly courteous, benevolent, or indulgent
characterized by or suitable for a life of elegance, ease, and indulgencegracious living; gracious furnishings
merciful or compassionate
obsolete fortunate, prosperous, or happy


an expression of mild surprise or wonder (often in exclamatory phrases such as good gracious!, gracious me!)
Derived Formsgraciously, adverbgraciousness, noun
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 gracious

c.1300, "filled with God's grace," from Old French gracios "courteous, pleasing, kind, friendly" (12c., Modern French gracieux), from Latin gratiosus "enjoying favor, agreeable, obliging; popular, acceptable," from gratia (see grace). Meaning "merciful, benevolent" is from late 14c. As an exclamation, elliptically for gracious God, attested from 1713.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with gracious


see goodness gracious.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.