Definition of gracious in English:



  • 1Courteous, kind, and pleasant.

    ‘smiling and gracious in defeat’
    • ‘Although disappointed, she was gracious in defeat, praising her opponent, who is rapidly becoming the player to beat in the women's game.’
    • ‘At these gatherings Mrs Turnbull was a gracious and lively hostess.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To their credit they never gave up trying and were equally gracious in defeat as in victory.’
    • ‘Garten the writer is a gracious hostess whose love of food and company is infectious.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And, of course, her majesty, the queen, and Prince Philip, were very gracious and generous and nice to us when we stayed there.’
    • ‘My sister, the gracious hostess that she is, asks if they would like to stay for dinner.’
    • ‘After all, knowing how to dance was a social necessity as important as having good manners and being a gracious hostess.’
    • ‘A pleasant, courteous and gracious lady, Vera was highly thought of by all in the community.’
    • ‘Their players and mentors were gracious in defeat.’
    • ‘A pleasant, courteous and gracious lady, she was well liked by her neighbours in the locality.’
    • ‘A gracious and courteous lady, she had a kind word for all and was devoted to her family.’
    • ‘A pleasant and gracious gentleman, Pat was known for his friendly and helpful nature.’
    • ‘She's been so sweet and generous and gracious to me.’
    • ‘Sean was a pleasant, courteous and gracious neighbour who could always be relied on to lend a helping hand.’
    • ‘Kate's pleasant and gracious manner made her a firm favourite in the neighbourhood.’
    • ‘Simon was gracious in defeat, but he couldn't mask the disappointment he felt.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She devoted much time to the development of the business, including being the gracious hostess for business dinners.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If this is the best they can do, I weep for the future of gracious living.’
      • ‘Here is a room designed for comfort, yet gracious and formal enough for hosting even the most important parties.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘The 18th century was the period when Nancy assumed its present form as one of the most elegant and gracious small cities in Europe.’
      • ‘Cohen, who is a youth counselor for after-school activities, lived and worked for some years in San Francisco and knows about gracious living.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I laughed outright because his voice was so gracious and aristocratic.’
      • ‘Fabrics embellished with elegant cuts, graceful falls and rich hues to gracious and sober tones are those best suited for the special occasions.’
      • ‘With refurbishment, this property has the potential to become a stylish and gracious home.’
      • ‘My suite was designed to elevate gracious living to the very epitome of decadence.’
      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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The last was the manifestation of true religion - genuinely gracious affections - in Christian practice.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They would enjoy His salvation and live under the blessings of His gracious rule.’
    • ‘While Jesus dwelt among men His glory was manifested in his gracious words and miraculous acts.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And even the faith with which we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ is God's gracious gift to us in His mercy.’
    • ‘The Christian principle of gracious forgiveness is, then, a good one, but it is extremely difficult for Christians themselves to observe it.’
    • ‘Boil it down and that's my calling - to announce the gracious lordship of Jesus Christ.’
    • ‘Only when we give alms, fast, and pray with the spirit of Jesus and God's gracious presence do we please God.’
    • ‘God is gracious to him who earns his living by his own labour and not by begging.’
    • ‘Thank God, then, for his gracious call - for if you belong to Christ it is as a result of his effectual calling.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Our stories speak about past failure and the reception of God's gracious salvation through Jesus Christ.’
    • ‘The gracious God allowed Adam and Eve to live, though he banished them from the Garden of Eden.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is slander upon the loving character of a tender, gracious heavenly Father and has done untold harm to the Christian cause.’
    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’
    • ‘My master, who was the most prominent courtier to his most gracious Majesty, the Emperor Kao, may he live ten thousand years.’
    • ‘The gracious King Louis XVI signed over one million dollars in arms and munitions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She brought word from the Queen that our gracious lady would like the mention of his blasphemy to continue.’
    • ‘And Sir George Grey will advise the grant of Her Majesty's gracious pardon’


  • Expressing polite surprise.

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


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