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c.1300, "filled with God's grace," from Old French gracios "courteous, pleasing, kind, friendly" (12c., Modern French gracieux), from Latin gratiosus "enjoying favor, agreeable, obliging; popular, acceptable," from gratia (see grace). Meaning "merciful, benevolent" is from late 14c. As an exclamation, elliptically for gracious God, attested from 1713.