Definition of gratuity in English:



  • 1formal A tip given to a waiter, taxi driver, etc.

    • ‘As we headed home, my mate wondered why many cafés have counter-top jars for tips if paying gratuities was not New Zealand custom.’
    • ‘But for the amount of work we do, a small gratuity is always appreciated.’
    • ‘These gratuities are voluntary rewards given from spectators who genuinely enjoyed the battle in the ring.’
    • ‘Make the martini their way and you'll get a bigger tip; to amass the greatest wealth in gratuities, you must learn to make over 100 drinks.’
    • ‘However, a special gratuity paid to a driver, for example at Christmas, may not be taxable.’
    tip, gift, present, donation, reward, handout, recompense, boon, baksheesh
    fringe benefit, bonus, extra payment, little extra, bit extra
    largesse, benefaction
    pourboire, douceur
    guerdon, lagniappe
    View synonyms
  • 2British A sum of money paid to an employee at the end of a period of employment:

    ‘an end-of-contract gratuity of 20% of the total pay received’
    • ‘It also wants to lengthen the qualifying period for long-service leave and dump a gratuity entitlement.’
    • ‘Charitable payments or gratuities given by employers should not be deducted from awards of damages as it is important not to discourage benevolence.’
    • ‘He added that the retirement gratuity had been increased following negotiations which had been accepted by the union side.’
    • ‘Well, as part of my pay for February, I received my gratuity for the contract period that ended December 31, 2002.’
    • ‘Government has been implored to intervene in the labour stand-off between the company and its workers following failure by management to pay gratuity to over 400 employees.’


Late 15th century (denoting graciousness or favour): from Old French gratuité or medieval Latin gratuitas gift, from Latin gratus pleasing, thankful.