See also: Grace, grâce, and Grâce



From Middle English grace, from Old French grace (modern French grâce), from Latin grātia (kindness, favour, esteem), from grātus (pleasing), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷerH- (to praise, welcome); compare grateful.

The word displaced the native Middle English held, hield (grace) (from Old English held, hyld (grace)), Middle English este (grace, favour, pleasure) (from Old English ēste (grace, kindness, favour)), Middle English athmede(n) (grace) (from Old English ēadmēdu (grace)), Middle English are, ore (grace, mercy, honour) (from Old English ār (honour, grace, kindness, mercy)).



grace (countable and uncountable, plural graces)

  1. (countable, uncountable) Charming, pleasing qualities.
    The Princess brought grace to an otherwise dull and boring party.
    • 1699, William Temple, Heads designed for an essay on conversations
      Study gives strength to the mind; conversation, grace: the first apt to give stiffness, the other suppleness: one gives substance and form to the statue, the other polishes it.
    • 1783, Hugh Blair, "Critical Examniation of the Style of Mr. Addison in No. 411 of The Spectator" in Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres
      I have formerly given the general character of Mr. Addison's style and manner as natural and unaffected, easy and polite, and full of those graces which a flowery imagination diffuses over writing.
  2. (countable) A short prayer of thanks before or after a meal.
    It has become less common to say grace before having dinner.
  3. (countable, card games) In the games of patience or solitaire: a special move that is normally against the rules.
  4. (countable, music) A grace note.
    • 1683, John Playford, An Introduction to the Skill of Musick: In Three Books, page 47:
      The Trill being the most usual Grace, is usually made in Closes, Cadences, and when on a long Note Exclamation or Passion is expressed, there the Trill is made in the latter part of such Note; but most usually upon binding Notes and such Notes as precede the closing Note.
  5. (uncountable) Elegant movement; balance or poise.
    The dancer moved with grace and strength.
  6. (uncountable, finance) An allowance of time granted to a debtor during which he or she is free of at least part of his normal obligations towards the creditor.
    The repayment of the loan starts after a three-year grace.
    • 1990, Claude de Bèze, 1688 revolution in Siam: the memoir of Father de Bèze, s.j, translated by E. W. Hutchinson, University Press, page 153:
      With mounting anger the King denounced the pair, both father and son, and was about to condemn them to death when his strength gave out. Faint and trembling he was unable to walk and the sword fell from his hands as he murmured: 'May the Protector of the Buddhist Faith grant me but seven more days grace of life to be quit of this disloyal couple, father and son'.
  7. (uncountable, theology) Free and undeserved favour, especially of God; unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification, or for resisting sin.
    • 1902, John Buchan, The Outgoing of the Tide
      When she sang in the kirk, folk have told me that they had a foretaste of the musick of the New Jerusalem, and when she came in by the village of Caulds old men stottered to their doors to look at her. Moreover, from her earliest days the bairn had some glimmerings of grace.
  8. An act or decree of the governing body of an English university.

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit

Terms related to grace (noun)


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


grace (third-person singular simple present graces, present participle gracing, simple past and past participle graced)

  1. (transitive) To adorn; to decorate; to embellish and dignify.
    He graced the room with his presence.
    He graced the room by simply being there.
    His portrait graced a landing on the stairway.
  2. (transitive) To dignify or raise by an act of favour; to honour.
    • 1603, Richard Knolles, The Generall Historie of the Turkes, [], London: [] Adam Islip, OCLC 837543169:
      He might, at his pleasure, grace [] or disgrace whom he would in court.
  3. (transitive) To supply with heavenly grace.
    • 1612–1626, [Joseph Hall], “(please specify the page)”, in [Contemplations vpon the Principall Passages of the Holy Storie], volume (please specify |volume=II, V, or VI), London, OCLC 54134621:
      Thy first publique miracle graceth a marriage
  4. (transitive, music) To add grace notes, cadenzas, etc., to.



Further readingEdit


Middle EnglishEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Old French grace, from Latin grātia.

Alternative formsEdit


  • (Early ME) IPA(key): /ˈɡraːtsə/
  • IPA(key): /ˈɡraːs(ə)/


grace (plural graces or grace)

  1. Various (Christian) theological meanings, usually as an attribute of God:
    1. The grace of God; divine aid or beneficence.
    2. A gift or sign of God; a demonstration of divine power.
    3. guidance, direction (especially divine)
  2. luck, destiny (especially positive or beneficial)
  3. niceness, esteem, positive demeanour
  4. beneficence, goodwill, good intentions
  5. gracefulness, elegance; aptness, competence.
  6. A present; a helpful or kind act.
  7. relief, relenting, forgiveness
  8. A prayer, especially one preceding a meal.
  9. (rare) repute, credit
  10. (rare) misfortune, misadventure, doom
  11. (rare, Late Middle English) unfairness, partisanship
Related termsEdit
  • English: grace
  • Scots: grace
  • Yola: greash

Etymology 2Edit

From Old English græs.



  1. Alternative form of gras

Old FrenchEdit

Alternative formsEdit


Borrowed from Latin grātia.


grace f (oblique plural graces, nominative singular grace, nominative plural graces)

  1. grace; favor
  2. grace; gracefulness; elegance