Definition of genteelism in English:



  • A word or expression used because it is thought to be socially more acceptable than the everyday word.

    ‘in German usage ‘sister’ was the accepted genteelism for ‘mistress’’
    • ‘Lady used to indicate a woman professional, as in lady doctor and lady lawyer, a genteelism that dates from a time when women were rare in such professions.’
    • ‘This genteelism is creeping in all over the place, as if the word ‘me’ has suddenly become impolite.’
    polite term, substitute, mild alternative, indirect term, understatement, underplaying, softening, politeness, coy term
    View synonyms