9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[gruh-too-i-tuh s, -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
gratuitously, adverb
gratuitousness, noun
nongratuitous, adjective
nongratuitously, adverb
nongratuitousness, noun
ungratuitous, adjective
ungratuitously, adverb
ungratuitousness, noun
Can be confused
gracious, gratis, gratuitous.
2. unnecessary, superfluous, redundant; causeless, unreasonable, groundless, unprovoked, unjustified. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for gratuitous
  • But they cannot understand breaking the law as anything but gratuitous rebellion.
  • That said, there is of course no ethical justification for causing gratuitous suffering among our animal kin.
  • They may just not be as open culturally to gratuitous violence.
  • Indeed, much of the novel's unpleasantness is gratuitous, or at least a violation of the genre's conventions.
  • The extinction of species has been involved in the most gratuitous mystery.
  • And throw in some gratuitous accent marks.
  • So while it was an eye-popping effect, it wasn't gratuitous.
  • His psychologically and dramatically unwarranted attack on them is surely the most gratuitous farewell speech ever written.
  • Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly.
  • We don't need any gratuitous advice from your side.
British Dictionary definitions for gratuitous


given or received without payment or obligation
without cause; unjustified
(law) given or made without receiving any value in return: a gratuitous agreement
Derived Forms
gratuitously, adverb
gratuitousness, noun
Word Origin
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for gratuitous

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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for gratuitous

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for gratuitous

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with gratuitous

Nearby words for gratuitous