Definition of gratuitous in English:



  • 1Done without good reason; uncalled for.

    ‘gratuitous violence’
    • ‘The gratuitous gossip included claims of domestic violence, adultery and abusive relationships.’
    • ‘Graphic, gratuitous sex is as commonplace as graphic, gratuitous violence and no-one bats an eyelid.’
    • ‘Once you've got over all the rampant misogyny and gratuitous, comic-book violence, it's an entertaining night in.’
    • ‘There are people who turn out for these things solely to indulge in a bit of gratuitous violence, hoping it'll spread.’
    • ‘This adaptation will have its critics, and it'll be hard to answer their accusations of gratuitous violence.’
    • ‘It is extremely painful to watch and yet the violence is never gratuitous.’
    • ‘The violence was gratuitous and appalling, but the film could be dismissed as essentially cartoonish.’
    • ‘Now, the only thing left to talk about is all of the gratuitous violence, which will certainly be a hot topic, no matter how well the film does.’
    • ‘And indeed, it's hard to imagine a device that inflicts more gratuitous damage on the environment.’
    • ‘The violence gets fairly gratuitous, but again, depending on your taste, maybe that's a selling point.’
    • ‘He will be shown gratuitous sex and graphic violence, hidden behind innuendo and called a romantic comedy.’
    • ‘These are the people who like to censor rap lyrics and condemn gratuitous violence, and the violence here seems pretty gratuitous.’
    • ‘And no films with gratuitous violence, nudity or profanity were allowed.’
    • ‘This is gratuitous violence, sick, bone-crunching, vicious and obscene.’
    • ‘I don't think there's an audience for gratuitous blasphemy or for gratuitous swearing - because it's boring.’
    • ‘I was unimpressed by the litany of self - destruction, violence and gratuitous sexism.’
    • ‘His death seemed so gratuitous, so uncalled for, that at first I couldn't figure out why it was in the film.’
    • ‘Extreme violence, at times gratuitous, is a recurring motif in his early films.’
    • ‘In other words, humour should be neither gratuitous nor excessive, but judicious.’
    • ‘Is the film a gratuitous violence fest or maybe just a blatant metaphor for how greed corrupts?’
    unjustified, without reason, uncalled for, unwarranted, unprovoked, undue
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  • 2Given or done free of charge.

    ‘solicitors provide a form of gratuitous legal advice’
    • ‘These licences are essentially gratuitous, since if any charge was made for them, they would be regarded as contractual.’
    • ‘It was a voluntary and gratuitous offer by the chambers to provide education and training.’
    • ‘Court employees should cite this Principle when pressed by those seeking gratuitous legal advice.’
    • ‘They were gratuitous volunteers, not bona fide purchasers for value without notice.’
    • ‘We are not aware of any cases in which the nonlawyer provider of gratuitous legal advice, such as to a friend or relative, was charged under these laws.’
    free, gratis, complimentary, voluntary, volunteer, unpaid, unrewarded, unsalaried, free of charge, without charge, for nothing, at no cost, without payment
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Mid 17th century: from Latin gratuitus given freely, spontaneous + -ous.