Adjective "genteel" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


Characterized by exaggerated or affected politeness, refinement, or respectability.
  1. 'Determined to live up to her new role as genteel landowner, the pop icon is opposing plans to allow ramblers to access her estate.'
  2. 'There is a genteel air of comfort and prosperity here and a crisp and clean environment only adds to it.'
  3. 'The couple now live in the genteel English coastal enclave of Hove, sister town to Brighton, with their twin sons.'
  4. 'He was then free to practise as a gynaecologist, settling in the genteel spa town of Bad Nauheim, near Frankfurt.'
  5. 'There will be sports as genteel as lawn bowling and as rugged as Rugby Union.'
  6. 'She looks down her dainty nose, her delicately featured face wrinkling in genteel distaste.'
  7. 'She is, of course, far too graceful, genteel to be so vulgar as to do so.'
  8. 'This was more of a genteel supper party than a Mafioso-style meeting of the families, but it was all about making deals nevertheless.'
  9. 'Such was the genteel corporate culture of the time that employees were encouraged to take a rest after lunch.'
  10. 'Let us not mince words, culling is a genteel word for killing, in fact for sheer bloody carnage, such as you propose.'


1. belonging or suited to polite society.

2. well-bred or refined; polite; elegant; stylish.

3. affectedly or pretentiously polite, delicate, etc.

More examples(as adjective)

"people can be genteel."

"poverties can be genteel."

"ways can be genteel."

"styles can be genteel."

"societies can be genteel."

More examples++


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.