V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. refined and polite in manner and of higher class; 2. overly refined and polite in order to appear to be of higher social status

Synonyms: cultivated, cultured, elegant, polished, refined, urbane, well-bred, pretentious, affected, highfalutin

Antonyms: unrefined, uncultured, unsophisticated, impolite, natural, unpretentious

Tips: When learning the word genteel, think of the related word gentle. Gentle means "soft and delicate." Genteel has some of this connotation, but with regard to politeness and good manners. If you are genteel, you are polite, well-mannered, and possess the sophistication of someone of higher class or status. Genteel can also describe someone who is trying to seem as though he or she is of a higher class and very cultured, someone "putting on airs."

Usage Examples:

The children all had genteel table manners. (polite, sophisticated)

He is a genteel host who knows how to throw an elegant party. (sophisticated, urbane, cultured)

The CEO of the company had a genteel demeanor that exuded class and sophistication. (sophisticated, cultured, cultivated)

When we went to brunch at the five-star resort, he was acting so genteel that he seemed like a real snob. (pretentious, affected)

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