Definition of gracious in US English:



  • 1Courteous, kind, and pleasant.

    ‘smiling and gracious in defeat’
    • ‘Simon was gracious in defeat, but he couldn't mask the disappointment he felt.’
    • ‘To their credit they never gave up trying and were equally gracious in defeat as in victory.’
    • ‘A pleasant and gracious gentleman, Pat was known for his friendly and helpful nature.’
    • ‘It is amazing that anyone who works so hard could find time to check in on friends not doing so well or simply to be so gracious, courteous and wickedly humoured.’
    • ‘And, of course, her majesty, the queen, and Prince Philip, were very gracious and generous and nice to us when we stayed there.’
    • ‘She's been so sweet and generous and gracious to me.’
    • ‘My sister, the gracious hostess that she is, asks if they would like to stay for dinner.’
    • ‘In her home, she carried the ease of a gracious hostess who is used to receiving visitors - the house is used for charity events and school trips.’
    • ‘She devoted much time to the development of the business, including being the gracious hostess for business dinners.’
    • ‘A gracious and courteous lady, she had a kind word for all and was devoted to her family.’
    • ‘Their players and mentors were gracious in defeat.’
    • ‘Garten the writer is a gracious hostess whose love of food and company is infectious.’
    • ‘After all, knowing how to dance was a social necessity as important as having good manners and being a gracious hostess.’
    • ‘Kate's pleasant and gracious manner made her a firm favourite in the neighbourhood.’
    • ‘A pleasant, courteous and gracious lady, she was well liked by her neighbours in the locality.’
    • ‘Although disappointed, she was gracious in defeat, praising her opponent, who is rapidly becoming the player to beat in the women's game.’
    • ‘The fans here must also learn to be gracious in defeat as well, not just ‘fair weather’ fans who turn against our boys after a tough loss.’
    • ‘At these gatherings Mrs Turnbull was a gracious and lively hostess.’
    • ‘A pleasant, courteous and gracious lady, Vera was highly thought of by all in the community.’
    • ‘Sean was a pleasant, courteous and gracious neighbour who could always be relied on to lend a helping hand.’
    courteous, polite, civil, chivalrous, well mannered, decorous, gentlemanly, ladylike, civilized, tactful, diplomatic
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    1. 1.1 Elegant and tasteful, especially as exhibiting wealth or high social status.
      ‘gracious living’
      ‘the British painter specialized in gracious Victorian interiors’
      • ‘City of grandiose and elegant façades, the gracious arcades of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle, here the Milanese mix their cool pragmatism with a love of the good life.’
      • ‘Okay, there may be some oldies who say the age of gracious living and letters or cards written with your own hand are more personalised, and I agree.’
      • ‘The day ended with tea on the terrace and following this taste of gracious living all dispersed, with every intention of making a return visit before too many months have passed.’
      • ‘Cohen, who is a youth counselor for after-school activities, lived and worked for some years in San Francisco and knows about gracious living.’
      • ‘With refurbishment, this property has the potential to become a stylish and gracious home.’
      • ‘Their rambling villa once a model of gracious elegance was now a paradise of dry rot and borer, with its skeletal verandah, rickety walls and warped weatherboards.’
      • ‘Fabrics embellished with elegant cuts, graceful falls and rich hues to gracious and sober tones are those best suited for the special occasions.’
      • ‘Here is a room designed for comfort, yet gracious and formal enough for hosting even the most important parties.’
      • ‘My suite was designed to elevate gracious living to the very epitome of decadence.’
      • ‘I laughed outright because his voice was so gracious and aristocratic.’
      • ‘The 18th century was the period when Nancy assumed its present form as one of the most elegant and gracious small cities in Europe.’
      • ‘If this is the best they can do, I weep for the future of gracious living.’
      • ‘‘Mr Wright said there's nothing more beautiful than a space for gracious living,’ Lewis said.’
      • ‘Its style harks back to the days when wealthy industrialists commissioned architects to design gracious new homes.’
      elegant, stylish, tasteful, graceful, comfortable, luxurious, sumptuous, opulent, grand, plush, high-class, exquisite, smart, sophisticated, fashionable, modish, chic
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  • 2(in Christian belief) showing divine grace.

    ‘I am saved by God's gracious intervention on my behalf’
    • ‘It is enough to know that our gracious God has his plan - and by his grace we are at the heart of it, in Christ.’
    • ‘At the table we are nourished by Christ's gracious presence in bread and wine.’
    • ‘If you have believed, it is time to renew you faith and to rejoice that the kingdom of God has come and that you live under the gracious rule of Jesus.’
    • ‘The Christian principle of gracious forgiveness is, then, a good one, but it is extremely difficult for Christians themselves to observe it.’
    • ‘It is slander upon the loving character of a tender, gracious heavenly Father and has done untold harm to the Christian cause.’
    • ‘Our stories speak about past failure and the reception of God's gracious salvation through Jesus Christ.’
    • ‘Only when we give alms, fast, and pray with the spirit of Jesus and God's gracious presence do we please God.’
    • ‘At the same time, by the orderings of a sovereign, gracious God, some people who desire very much to marry may never find the person they regard as a suitable partner.’
    • ‘Looking back, I see the gracious hand of our sovereign God overruling my obstinate reluctance and giving me new desires that were not natural for me.’
    • ‘Boil it down and that's my calling - to announce the gracious lordship of Jesus Christ.’
    • ‘They would enjoy His salvation and live under the blessings of His gracious rule.’
    • ‘The last was the manifestation of true religion - genuinely gracious affections - in Christian practice.’
    • ‘Thank God, then, for his gracious call - for if you belong to Christ it is as a result of his effectual calling.’
    • ‘The gracious God allowed Adam and Eve to live, though he banished them from the Garden of Eden.’
    • ‘In many ways we have fallen into a similar pattern of disobedience, and need the gracious intervention of God to deliver us from spiritual and moral decay.’
    • ‘At the heart of our faith is an invitation to remember the past differently thanks to the gracious love of God manifested in the crucified and risen Christ.’
    • ‘God is gracious to him who earns his living by his own labour and not by begging.’
    • ‘While Jesus dwelt among men His glory was manifested in his gracious words and miraculous acts.’
    • ‘On 16 November 2002, the members and many friends of the church met to give thanks to God for his gracious provision of a building of their own and to dedicate it to his service.’
    • ‘And even the faith with which we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ is God's gracious gift to us in His mercy.’
    merciful, forgiving, compassionate, kind, kindly, lenient, clement, pitying, forbearing, humane, mild, soft-hearted, tender-hearted, sympathetic
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  • 3British A polite epithet used of royalty or their acts.

    ‘the accession of Her present gracious Majesty’
    • ‘Nevertheless, his widow, the gracious Princess Lom was at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club last weekend, to place the Prince's imprimatur on the championship.’
    • ‘And Sir George Grey will advise the grant of Her Majesty's gracious pardon’
    • ‘The gracious King Louis XVI signed over one million dollars in arms and munitions.’
    • ‘My master, who was the most prominent courtier to his most gracious Majesty, the Emperor Kao, may he live ten thousand years.’
    • ‘She brought word from the Queen that our gracious lady would like the mention of his blasphemy to continue.’


  • Expressing polite surprise.

    • ‘Oh good gracious, was Faith in love too?’
    • ‘Well, good gracious me, I was very pleasantly surprised.’


Middle English: via Old French from Latin gratiosus, from gratia ‘esteem, favor’ (see grace).