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

British Dictionary definitions for ungratuitous


/ (ɡrəˈtjuːɪtəs) /


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

Word Origin and History for ungratuitous



1650s, "freely bestowed," from Latin gratuitus "done without pay, spontaneous, voluntary," from gratus "pleasing, agreeable," from gratia "favor" (see grace). Sense of "uncalled for, done without good reason" is first recorded 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper