Definition of genteel in English:



  • Polite, refined, or respectable, often in an affected or ostentatious way.

    • ‘Joséphine's upper lip wrinkles with almost genteel scorn when asked about her circumstances.’
    • ‘It was a genteel game then for gentlemen, nurtured in a corner of the globe on the village greens of Henley and Marlow.’
    • ‘The couple now live in the genteel English coastal enclave of Hove, sister town to Brighton, with their twin sons.’
    • ‘Compared to mediums like oil or acrylic, watercolor has a vaguely genteel air.’
    • ‘Chang does speak with absolute conviction, but also with measured, genteel grace.’
    • ‘She is, of course, far too graceful, genteel to be so vulgar as to do so.’
    • ‘There will be sports as genteel as lawn bowling and as rugged as Rugby Union.’
    • ‘He was then free to practise as a gynaecologist, settling in the genteel spa town of Bad Nauheim, near Frankfurt.’
    • ‘This was more of a genteel supper party than a Mafioso-style meeting of the families, but it was all about making deals nevertheless.’
    • ‘By day, as a student living with his genteel hosts, he cultivates the persona of a bookish young man given to headaches and dizzy spells.’
    • ‘She looks down her dainty nose, her delicately featured face wrinkling in genteel distaste.’
    • ‘Determined to live up to her new role as genteel landowner, the pop icon is opposing plans to allow ramblers to access her estate.’
    • ‘Such was the genteel corporate culture of the time that employees were encouraged to take a rest after lunch.’
    • ‘In contrast Harriet's family represents the fading genteel elegance of the old South.’
    • ‘I have this image of a kind of old boys' club, of a rather genteel kind of place.’
    • ‘These can be just as much of a drink fest as the gatherings at the pubs and clubs, albeit in a more genteel environment.’
    • ‘Let us not mince words, culling is a genteel word for killing, in fact for sheer bloody carnage, such as you propose.’
    • ‘The estate, once genteel but now a sprawling mass of dilapidated bedsits and flats, had a bad drug problem.’
    • ‘There is a genteel air of comfort and prosperity here and a crisp and clean environment only adds to it.’
    • ‘After that it looks like something from a more refined and genteel and luxurious and over-the-top era.’
    refined, respectable, polished, decorous, proper, polite, correct, seemly, well mannered, well bred, cultivated, cultured, sophisticated, courteous, ladylike, gentlemanly, civil, elegant, stylish, urbane, civilized, courtly, dignified, gracious, punctilious
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Late 16th century (in the sense fashionable, stylish): from French gentil well-born From the 17th century to the 19th century the word was used in such senses as of good social position having the manners of a well-born person well-bred The ironic or derogatory implication dates from the 19th century.