verb (used with object), graced, grac·ing.

to lend or add grace to; adorn: Many fine paintings graced the rooms of the house.
to favor or honor: to grace an occasion with one's presence.


    but for the grace of God, under less fortunate circumstances: But for the grace of God, the brick that just fell from the roof would have hit me on the head!
    by the grace of God, thankfully; fortunately: By the grace of God, I won't have to deal with tax returns for another year.
    fall from grace,
    1. relapse into sin or disfavor.
    2. to lose favor; be discredited: He fell from grace when the boss found out he had lied.
    have the grace to, to be so kind as to: Would you have the grace to help, please?
    in someone's good/bad graces, regarded with favor (or disfavor) by someone: It is a wonder that I have managed to stay in her good graces this long.
    with bad grace, reluctantly; grudgingly: He apologized, but did so with bad grace.Also with a bad grace.
    with good grace, willingly; ungrudgingly: She took on the extra work with good grace.

Origin of grace

1125–75; Middle English < Old French < Latin grātia favor, kindness, esteem, derivative of grātus pleasing
Related formsgrace·like, adjectiveun·graced, adjective

Word story

¡Gracias! Grazie! When a Spanish or Italian speaker says thanks, they are invoking one of the meanings behind the word grace. That’s because grace, gracias, and grazie all descend from the same Latin word, grātia.
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.

Popular references

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.
Related Quotations
  • "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) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for in someone's bad graces



elegance and beauty of movement, form, expression, or proportion
a pleasing or charming quality
goodwill or favour
the granting of a favour or the manifestation of goodwill, esp by a superior
a sense of propriety and consideration for others
  1. affectation of manner (esp in the phrase airs and graces)
  2. in someone's good gracesregarded favourably and with kindness by someone
mercy; clemency
  1. the free and unmerited favour of God shown towards man
  2. the divine assistance and power given to man in spiritual rebirth and sanctification
  3. the condition of being favoured or sanctified by God
  4. an unmerited gift, favour, etc, granted by God
a short prayer recited before or after a meal to invoke a blessing upon the food or give thanks for it
music a melodic ornament or decoration
with bad grace or with a bad grace unwillingly or grudgingly
with good grace or with a good grace willingly or cheerfully


(tr) to add elegance and beauty toflowers graced the room
(tr) to honour or favourto grace a party with one's presence
to ornament or decorate (a melody, part, etc) with nonessential notes

Word Origin for grace

C12: from Old French, from Latin grātia, from grātus pleasing




(preceded by your, his, or her) a title used to address or refer to a duke, duchess, or archbishop




W (illiam) G (ilbert). 1848–1915, English cricketer
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 in someone's bad graces


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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with in someone's bad graces

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.

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