Gratuitous Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Gratuitous, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Gratuitous?

(adj) Gratuitous is the situation where a person or entity do, act or perform an activity which is not demanded, requested or otherwise obligatory on the part of the person doing or performing it.

History and Meaning of Gratuitous

Gratuitous is a term that has been used frequently in legal contexts since the early 17th century. It is derived from the Latin word "gratuitus," which means "without cause or reason." In legal terms, it refers to a situation where a person or entity does something voluntarily, without any obligation or expectation of compensation. This could include actions such as providing a gift or performing a service without payment.

Examples of Gratuitous

  1. A landlord provides an extra set of keys to a tenant, even though there is no agreement that requires them to do so.
  2. A neighbor mows another neighbor's lawn, simply because they want to be helpful.
  3. A company donates money to a nonprofit organization without receiving any products or services in return.

Legal Terms Similar to Gratuitous

  1. Pro bono - providing services for free or at a reduced cost for the public good.
  2. Donative intent - the intention to give a gift without receiving anything in return.
  3. Unilateral contract - a contract where only one party is obligated to perform, often used in situations where one party provides a gift or donation without expected compensation.