[ gruh-too-i-tuhs, -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

Can be confused

gracious gratis gratuitous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gratuitous

British Dictionary definitions for gratuitous


/ (ɡrəˈtjuːɪtəs) /


given or received without payment or obligation
without cause; unjustified
law given or made without receiving any value in returna gratuitous agreement

Derived Forms

gratuitously, adverbgratuitousness, noun

Word Origin for gratuitous

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