• synonyms


[gruh-too-i-tee, -tyoo-]
noun, plural gra·tu·i·ties.
  1. a gift of money, over and above payment due for service, as to a waiter or bellhop; tip.
  2. something given without claim or demand.
  3. British.
    1. a bonus granted to war veterans by the government.
    2. a bonus given military personnel on discharge or retirement.
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Origin of gratuity

1515–25; < Middle French gratuite, equivalent to Latin grātuī(tus) free + Middle French -te -ty2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for gratuities

Historical Examples

  • She gave many alms and gratuities and did not pay her debts.

    The book of the ladies

    Pierre de Bourdeille Brantme

  • The cooking was excellent, the service irreproachable, and there were no gratuities.

  • Guides are forbidden to ask for gratuities in excess of the regular tariff.

    Over the Ocean

    Curtis Guild

  • He must have carried away half of the gratuities they offered.

    A Book of Ghosts

    Sabine Baring-Gould

  • Endeavour was relaxed, and gratuities, once received, were looked for again.

British Dictionary definitions for gratuities


noun plural -ties
  1. a gift or reward, usually of money, for services rendered; tip
  2. something given without claim or obligation
  3. military a financial award granted for long or meritorious service
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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 gratuities



1520s, "graciousness," from French gratuité (14c.) or directly from Medieval Latin gratuitatem (nominative gratuitas) "free gift," probably from Latin gratuitus "free, freely given" (see gratuitous). Meaning "money given for favor or services" is first attested 1530s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper