genteel


genteel
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 pronunciation and stress preserved to emphasize the distinction. Cf. also JAUNTY (Cf. jaunty); GENTILE (Cf. gentile). OED 2nd ed. reports genteel "is now used, except by the ignorant, only in mockery" (a development it dates from the 1840s).

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • 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 — 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

  • genteel — 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… …   New Collegiate Dictionary