adjective Etymology: Middle French gentil gentle Date: 1599 1. a. having an aristocratic quality or flavor ; stylish b. of or relating to the gentry or upper class c. elegant or graceful in manner, appearance, or shape d. free from vulgarity or rudeness ; polite 2. a. maintaining or striving to maintain the appearance of superior or middle-class social status or respectability b. (1) marked by false delicacy, prudery, or affectation (2) conventionally or insipidly pretty <
timid and genteel artistic style
genteelly adverbgenteelness noun

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Genteel — Gen*teel , a. [F. gentil noble, pretty, graceful. See {Gentle}.] 1. Possessing or exhibiting the qualities popularly regarded as belonging to high birth and breeding; free from vulgarity, or lowness of taste or behavior; adapted to a refined or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • genteel — 1590s, from M.Fr. gentil stylish, fashionable, elegant; nice, graceful, pleasing, from O.Fr. gentil high born, noble (11c.); a reborrowing of the French word that had early come into English as GENTLE (Cf. gentle) (q.v.), with French… …   Etymology dictionary

  • genteel — index civil (polite) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • genteel — Its primary meaning is ‘affectedly or ostentatiously refined or stylish’, but it is often used ironically to mean ‘of or appropriate to the upper classes’ …   Modern English usage

  • genteel — [adj] sophisticated, cultured affected, aristocratic, artificial, chivalrous, civil, confined, courteous, courtly, cultivated, distingué, elegant, fashionable, formal, graceful, hollow, intolerant, la di da*, mannerly, noble, ostentatious,… …   New thesaurus

  • genteel — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ affectedly polite and refined. DERIVATIVES genteelly adverb. ORIGIN French gentil well born …   English terms dictionary

  • genteel — [jen tēl′] adj. [< Fr gentil (of same orig. as GENTLE & JAUNTY, but borrowed again in 16th c.)] 1. Old fashioned having or showing the good taste and refinement associated with polite society; elegant, fashionable, etc. 2. excessively or… …   English World dictionary

  • genteel — [[t]ʤenti͟ːl[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED A genteel person is respectable and well mannered, and comes or seems to come from a high social class. It was a place to which genteel families came in search of health and quiet. ...two maiden ladies with genteel …   English dictionary

  • genteel — UK [dʒenˈtiːl] / US [dʒenˈtɪl] adjective 1) a) typical of polite well educated people belonging to a high social class who have strict moral standards and are easily shocked by anything rude genteel manners b) lived in by rich polite people and… …   English dictionary

  • genteel — gen|teel [ dʒen til ] adjective 1. ) typical of polite people belonging to a high social class: genteel manners a ) lived in by rich polite people: a genteel seaside town 2. ) trying to appear as if you belong to a high social class ╾ gen|teel|ly …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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