Share this entry

Share this page

genteel

Syllabification: gen·teel
Pronunciation: /jenˈtēl
 
/

Definition of genteel in English:

adjective

Polite, refined, or respectable, often in an affected or ostentatious way.
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.
Synonyms
well bred, cultured, sophisticated, ladylike, gentlemanly, dignified, gracious;
affected

Origin

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.

Derivatives

genteelly

1
adverb
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.’

genteelness

2
noun
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.

Definition of genteel in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day resilient
Pronunciation: rəˈzilyənt
adjective
able to recoil or spring back into shape…