May 20, 2016
gratis (adverb or adjective)
\GRATT-iss\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: without charge : free
How do you use it?
After we helped clean up from the bake sale, the leftover goodies were distributed to us gratis by Mrs. Caruso.
Are you a word wiz?

If you are a Daily Buzzword fan, you already know that English often borrows words from other languages. Which of these languages do you think we borrowed "gratis" from?

"Gratis" is a form of the Latin "gratiis," meaning "out of favor or kindness," which in turn comes from the Latin word "gratia," meaning "favor." A favor is something you do for someone without thought of repayment, so it's not surprising that "gratis" acquired the meaning of "free" in English. "Gratis" can freely function as an adjective or an adverb. You could use "gratis" as an adverb, as we have, and say, "Mrs. Caruso distributed the goodies gratis." Or you could use "gratis" as an adjective and say, "The goodies were gratis." Either way you use it, "gratis" means "free."
Archive RSS Feed