- the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.
- the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.
- a virtue or excellence of divine origin: the Christian graces.
- Also called state of grace.the condition of being in God's favor or one of the elect.
verb (used with object), graced, grac·ing.
- Theology.to relapse into sin or disfavor.
- to lose favor; be discredited: He fell from grace when the boss found out he had lied.
Origin of grace
For the ancient Romans, grātia had three distinct meanings: (1) a pleasing quality, (2) favor or goodwill, and (3) gratitude or thanks. We find all three of these meanings in modern-day English. The first when we describe someone as having (or not having) grace: “Dancing, she had all the grace of an elephant on skates.” The second when we talk about giving or getting grace: “by the grace of God.” And the third when we say grace (i.e., “thanks”) at a meal.
So if you have something to be grateful for, you can say thank-you, grātia, gracias, or grazie. Just make sure you don’t give that something a coup de grâce.
— Amazing Grace: A hymn written by English clergyman John Newton, who participated in the slave trade before finding religion.
— Grace: Jeff Buckley’s sole studio album, released in 1994, just three years before his early death.
- "When a person expends the least amount of motion on one action, that is grace."-Anton Pavlovich Chekhov Complete Works and Letters in Thirty Volumes, Letters, vol. 8, p. 11, “Nauka” (1976)
- "When a clergyman is present, he is asked to say grace, often after everyone is seated. But in the case of a friend, he should be asked in advance if he would like to say grace."-Nancy Tuckerman & Nancy Dunnan The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette (1995)
- affectation of manner (esp in the phrase airs and graces)
- in someone's good gracesregarded favourably and with kindness by someone
- the free and unmerited favour of God shown towards man
- the divine assistance and power given to man in spiritual rebirth and sanctification
- the condition of being favoured or sanctified by God
- an unmerited gift, favour, etc, granted by God
Word Origin for grace
fem. proper name, literally "favor, grace;" see grace (n.).
c.1200, "to thank," from Old French gracier, from grace (see grace (n.)). Meaning "to show favor" (mid-15c.) led to that of "to lend or add grace to something" (1580s, e.g. grace us with your presence), which is the root of the musical sense in grace notes (1650s). Related: Graced; gracing.
late 12c., "God's favor or help," from Old French grace "pardon, divine grace, mercy; favor, thanks; elegance, virtue" (12c.), from Latin gratia "favor, esteem, regard; pleasing quality, good will, gratitude" (source of Italian grazia, Spanish gracia), from gratus "pleasing, agreeable," from PIE root *gwere- "to favor" (cf. Sanskrit grnati "sings, praises, announces," Lithuanian giriu "to praise, celebrate," Avestan gar- "to praise").
Sense of "virtue" is early 14c., that of "beauty of form or movement, pleasing quality" is mid-14c. In classical sense, "one of the three sister goddesses (Latin Gratiæ, Greek Kharites), bestowers of beauty and charm," it is first recorded in English 1579 in Spenser. The short prayer that is said before or after a meal (early 13c.; until 16c. usually graces) has a sense of "gratitude."
in someone's bad graces
Also, in someone's bad books. Out of favor with someone. For example, Harry's tardiness put him in the teacher's bad graces, or Making fun of the director is bound to get you in his bad books. The use of grace in the sense of “favor” dates from the 1400s; the use of books dates from the early 1800s. Also see black book, def. 1; in someone's good graces.
see fall from grace; in someone's bad graces; in someone's good graces; saving grace; say grace; there but for the grace of god; with good grace.