a. Characterized by kindness and warm courtesy: gave the guests a gracious welcome.
b. Characterized by tact and propriety: responded to the insult with gracious humor.
c. Condescendingly courteous; indulgent: was always gracious toward the servants.
2. Merciful or compassionate. Used especially of God in Christianity and Islam.
3. Characterized by elegance and good taste: gracious living.
4. Archaic Enjoying favor or grace; acceptable or pleasing.
Used to express surprise or mild emotion.
[Middle English, from Old French gracieus, from Latin grātiōsus, from grātia, good will; see GRACE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.