Definition of genteel in English:

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Pronunciation: /dʒɛnˈtiːl/


Characterized by exaggerated or affected politeness, refinement, or respectability: her genteel upbringing
More example sentences
  • After that it looks like something from a more refined and genteel and luxurious and over-the-top era.
  • 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.
  • Such was the genteel corporate culture of the time that employees were encouraged to take a rest after lunch.
British informal posh
dated mannerly



Pronunciation: /dʒɛnˈtiːlli/
Example sentences
  • There's a certain humor in Wilson constructing a life for himself that genteelly avoids every topic that fills his own book with interest.
  • Every afternoon from 4 to 5, we found ourselves on the inn's porch with a dozen or so other guests, genteelly sipping iced tea in our rocking chairs as the afternoon breeze cooled our new sunburns.
  • She started a little pile of items for my later perusal, which she genteelly labeled ‘miscellaneous.’


Example sentences
  • Nancy personifies the genteelness they like to see in people irrespective of gender.
  • You get a pillow that is gentle offering the neck and head stability you are looking for and still maintaining the genteelness you want.
  • We have so many Northern transplants here that Charlotte has forever lost the Southern genteelness it used to have.


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.

Words that rhyme with genteel

allele, anele, anneal, appeal, Bastille, Beale, Castile, chenille, cochineal, cockatiel, conceal, congeal, creel, deal, eel, Emile, feel, freewheel, Guayaquil, heal, heel, he'll, keel, Kiel, kneel, leal, Lille, Lucille, manchineel, meal, misdeal, Neil, O'Neill, ordeal, peal, peel, reel, schlemiel, seal, seel, she'll, spiel, squeal, steal, steel, Steele, teal, underseal, veal, weal, we'll, wheel, zeal

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: gen|teel

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