Definition of grace in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɡreɪs/


[mass noun]
1Smoothness and elegance of movement: she moved through the water with effortless grace
More example sentences
  • I do the first couple of movements with grace and ease… but then I forget.
  • She was 5'7, slim and wiry, with a dancer's slow, precise grace in her movements.
  • Sweat was dripping down our faces by this time, but we had to keep our smiles planted on our face and an ease and grace in our movements.
elegance, stylishness, poise, finesse, charm;
gracefulness, dexterity, adroitness;
deftness, fluidity of movement, fluency, flow, suppleness, smoothness, ease, effortlessness, naturalness, neatness, precision, agility, nimbleness, light-footedness
informal poetry in motion
rare flowingness, lightsomeness
2Courteous good will: he had the good grace to apologize to her afterwards
More example sentences
  • Rather than seeing this as a sign of weakness, I see it as a sign of grace, courtesy, and diplomacy.
  • All these visitors to our realm should be greeted with the same grace and courtesy.
  • When he visited us in Delhi, I was immediately charmed by his grace, civility and intellectual sensitivity.
2.1 (graces) An attractively polite manner of behaving: she has all the social graces
More example sentences
  • In many tribal cultures, the social graces, being polite, showing respect and personal interactions are more important than being on time.
  • From an early age, children are trained in etiquette and the social graces.
  • Her family was well connected, and Griffith received an education suitable for a fine lady in polite literature, French, poetry, and the social graces.
3(In Christian belief) the free and unmerited favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
Example sentences
  • The book approached the issue of salvation, God's grace, and human free will from a Calvinist perspective.
  • We are saved by God's free grace, through faith in Christ's atoning death and resurrection.
  • Our main message is salvation through grace alone, by faith alone, through Christ alone.
3.1 [count noun] A divinely given talent or blessing: the scheme has proved to be a great grace for the Church
More example sentences
  • The theme will be thanksgiving for the many graces and blessings we receive.
  • A fair number of the devotees we spoke to believed that this is the most auspicious moment of the festival and everyone who is present and sees the flat being hoisted, receives special blessings and graces from the Holy Mother.
  • He didn't accept that her experiences were divine graces and ordered her to terminate her ecstasies as soon as she felt them beginning.
3.2The condition or fact of being favoured by someone.
Example sentences
  • The genre's current fall from grace stems from the fact that it is dominated by the same DJs now as it was in 1988.
  • I will put aside my own feelings in order to examine the facts of his fall from grace.
  • In its infancy, the process fell from grace because of production problems.
favour, approval, approbation, acceptance, commendation, esteem, regard, respect, preferment, liking, support, goodwill
favour, good will, generosity, kindness, benefaction, beneficence, indulgence
4A period officially allowed for payment of a sum due or for compliance with a law or condition, especially an extended period granted as a special favour: we’ll give them 30 days' grace and then we’ll be doing checks [as modifier]: a two-month grace period
More example sentences
  • Effectively, the family can be given a year's grace before the court grants possession.
  • He says that the Mars mission could take place as early as 2009, but the two years' grace period allows the agency to spread the cost around that much more.
  • The offer of a period of grace is a critical factor in the underwriting of this form of business.
North American  tabling;
North American Law  continuation
rare put-off
5A short prayer of thanks said before or after a meal.
Example sentences
  • Twain joined Livy at prayers and grace before meals.
  • She ensured that they said their nightly prayers and grace before meals.
  • You two don't say grace at meals, or kiss each other good morning, good night or good-bye.
6 (His, Her, or Your Grace) Used as forms of description or address for a duke, duchess, or archbishop: His Grace, the Duke of Atholl
More example sentences
  • She will be unveiling a recently sculpted bronze head of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, which has been presented to Sandown Park by His Grace the Duke of Devonshire.
  • Last week, His Grace, Archbishop Clifford has given his blessing to the plans and sent his adviser on church buildings, to inspect our parish properties.
  • The Archbishop of York, His Grace Dr David Hope, enthusiastically gave the idea his support and preparations began.
7 (the Graces or the Three Graces) (In Greek mythology) three beautiful goddesses (Aglaia, Thalia, and Euphrosyne) believed to personify and bestow charm, grace, and beauty.


[with object and adverbial]
1Bring honour or credit to (someone or something) by one’s attendance or participation: he is one of the best players ever to have graced the game ironic she had deigned to grace the city of New York with her presence
More example sentences
  • John Taylor is acknowledged as one of the greatest hurlers ever to play for Laois and indeed one of the finest exponents ever to grace the ancient game.
  • Greaves, a goal-scorer of legendary prowess, is one of the greatest footballers ever to grace the English game.
  • Botham, 48, is widely considered to be one of the greatest all-rounders ever to grace the game.
dignify, distinguish, add distinction to, add dignity to, honour, bestow honour on, favour, enhance, add lustre to, magnify, ennoble, glorify, elevate, make lofty, aggrandize, upgrade
1.1 [with object] (Of a person or thing) be an attractive presence in or on; adorn: Ms Pasco has graced the front pages of magazines like Elle and Vogue
More example sentences
  • One of his prints also graces the entire back cover of the current issue of ‘Harvest’ - the Diocesan quarterly magazine.
  • Huge wooden beams in the bedroom and drawing room once graced an Aberdeen wool mill.
  • They would grace our otherwise cluttered shelves.
adorn, embellish, decorate, furnish, ornament, add ornament to, enhance;
beautify, prettify, enrich, bedeck, deck (out), garnish, emblazon, gild, set off
informal get up, do up, do out



be in someone's good (or bad) graces

Be regarded by someone with favour (or disfavour).
Example sentences
  • In this multicultural world, people from those other cultures demand that they be treated as equal, command the same respect and be in our good graces.
  • She guessed that it probably belonged to one of the slaves that were in the queen 's good graces.
  • We introduced ourselves and he promised coffee around the halfway point of our night, and by then he was in my good graces.

fall from grace


there but for the grace of God (go I)

Used to acknowledge one’s good fortune in avoiding another’s mistake or misfortune.
Example sentences
  • When I see it from a professional point of view I think there but for the grace of God go I, but it hits you very differently when you are a parent - it was my Nicola, not just anyone.
  • My attitude is, there but for the grace of God…’ ‘When I hear people moaning, I think they should come and sit in here for a week and see what goes on and the heartbreak.’
  • You know there but for the grace of God… I was just lucky that after my mother died my Aunty Linda was around to take Father and I under her wing otherwise heaven knows where we would have ended up what with his drinking so bad and all.

with good (or bad) grace

In a willing and happy (or resentful and reluctant) manner.
Example sentences
  • They seem to be very against any form of control for what they do, and I have never in my life met anyone who was willing to stop smoking with good grace when asked.
  • If one has apologised, one should accept it with good grace.
  • It was very hard fought, but always with good grace.
willingly, without hesitation, unhesitatingly, gladly, happily, cheerfully, with pleasure, without reluctance, ungrudgingly, voluntarily;
eagerly, promptly, quickly


Middle English: via Old French from Latin gratia, from gratus 'pleasing, thankful'; related to grateful.

Words that rhyme with grace

abase, ace, apace, backspace, base, bass, brace, case, chase, dace, efface, embrace, encase, enchase, enlace, face, interlace, interspace, in-your-face, lace, mace, misplace, outface, outpace, pace, place, plaice, race, space, Thrace, trace, upper case

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: grace

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