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Definition of "genteel" []

  • Refined in manner; well-bred and polite. (adjective)
  • Free from vulgarity or rudeness. (adjective)
  • Elegantly stylish: genteel manners and appearance. (adjective)
  • Striving to convey a manner or appearance of refinement and respectability. See Synonyms at polite. (adjective)
  • Marked by affected and somewhat prudish refinement. (adjective)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "genteel" in a sentence
  • "Her cousins made game of what they called her genteel visitor."
  • "The Haitian tragedy has opened up a whole new industry for what I call the genteel racist point of view."
  • "This was the phrase genteel officials at the school used to explain to the very proper and very perturbed parents of India’s towheaded classmates why a white, British woman and her Welsh husband had a half-black child."