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[gruh-too-i-tee, -tyoo-] /grəˈtu ɪ ti, -ˈtyu-/
noun, plural gratuities.
a gift of money, over and above payment due for service, as to a waiter or bellhop; tip.
something given without claim or demand.
  1. a bonus granted to war veterans by the government.
  2. a bonus given military personnel on discharge or retirement.
Origin of gratuity
1515-25; < Middle French gratuite, equivalent to Latin grātuī(tus) free + Middle French -te -ty2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gratuities
Historical Examples
  • And when you enter the great field of gratuities, you will find that the absence of small change will cost you heavily.

    How to Travel Thomas W. Knox
  • Guides are forbidden to ask for gratuities in excess of the regular tariff.

    Over the Ocean Curtis Guild
  • She gave many alms and gratuities and did not pay her debts.

    The book of the ladies Pierre de Bourdeille Brantme
  • He must have carried away half of the gratuities they offered.

    A Book of Ghosts Sabine Baring-Gould
  • He dismissed one hundred and eighty postmen, reinstated them, reprimanded them—and awarded them gratuities.

    Penguin Island Anatole France
  • Endeavour was relaxed, and gratuities, once received, were looked for again.

  • Every traveler must judge for himself whether he has made an undue demand upon the servants, and gauge his gratuities accordingly.

    How to Travel Thomas W. Knox
  • Having the qualifications, one could earn twenty-five dollars a month in salary and three or four times as much in gratuities.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • We have the first instance in this year of gratuities being allowed to captains in the navy who were wounded in battle.

  • gratuities should never be offered by the guests at a dinner-party to the servants in attendance.

British Dictionary definitions for gratuities


noun (pl) -ties
a gift or reward, usually of money, for services rendered; tip
something given without claim or obligation
(military) a financial award granted for long or meritorious service
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
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Word Origin and History for gratuities



1520s, "graciousness," from French gratuité (14c.) or directly from Medieval Latin gratuitatem (nominative gratuitas) "free gift," probably from Latin gratuitus "free, freely given" (see gratuitous). Meaning "money given for favor or services" is first attested 1530s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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