Gratuitous means "without cause" or "unnecessary." Telling ridiculous jokes at a somber occasion would be a display of gratuitous humor.

Gratuitous can be used to refer to something that’s unnecessary and mildly annoying. If a friend frequently gives you fashion tips, even though you’ve expressed no interest in receiving them, you’d be correct in labeling her advice as gratuitous. In addition, gratuitous can be used to indicate that something is not only unnecessary but also inappropriate. Some people claim that some films and video games contain gratuitous violence — that is, violence that is excessive and offensive.

Definitions of gratuitous
  1. adjective
    unnecessary and unwarranted
    synonyms: needless, uncalled-for
    unnecessary, unneeded
    not necessary
  2. adjective
    without cause
    “a gratuitous insult”
    not merited or deserved
  3. adjective
    costing nothing
    synonyms: complimentary, costless, free, gratis
    not paid
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘gratuitous'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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