V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. without cause or justification; 2. given or received without cost or obligation

Synonyms: baseless, unwarranted, causeless, unnecessary, wonton, groundless, uncalled-for, unmerited, complimentary

Antonyms: based, well-founded

Tips: Gratuitous is derived from the Latin gratuitus, meaning "not paid for" or "extra, unprovoked." Think of the word gratuity, which means "a tip" or "something extra" for services rendered. Gratuitous is a great way of describing something free or given freely. Gratuitous can have a more negative sense when used to describe something unwarranted, like a "gratuitous insult." Gratuitous is also a great word to describe adding something extra that is really unnecessary: "The gratuitous nudity in the movie did not contribute to the plot, but was added to attract teenage boys to the film." In this sense, gratuitous is a more sophisticated way of saying unnecessary.

Usage Examples:

The parents were upset by the gratuitous violence on prime-time television. (unnecessary, uncalled-for)

I received a gratuitous coffee pot with the understanding that I was obligated to purchase flavored coffee later. (complimentary)

Calling him inept was gratuitous given that you had already reprimanded him for his mistakes. (unnecessary, uncalled-for)

That movie certainly had a lot of gratuitous nudity. (unnecessary)

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