As Spanish native speaker, I cannot find the context or usage of word "gratis" in English Language, as example:

All apples are gratis.

I know (maybe I'm wrong) that it would be better to use:

All apples are free.

Is there any difference in how these words are used?

Please provide examples.


In my experience, gratis is not used on signs in the way that free often is.


One rarely hears gratis used in everyday speech in the US, although it is hardly unknown or unused. Gratis is above the grade-reading-level for most daily newspapers in the US.

A publisher might send a teacher a gratis copy of a book.

EDIT:As CarSmack reminds us, it can also be used as an adverb, so that the publisher could send a teacher a copy of the book gratis.


Gratis is a Latin word. It means "free as in beer", not "free as in speech".


Both are English words. Free is much more common.

Gratis is a synonym for free. You can find examples in the Oxford Dictionary here. Click on "More Example Sentences." It can be used as either an adjective or an adverb. But it still sounds "Latin" and "borrowed" and sometimes it is used as a novelty word to appear "educated" or to attract attention. But the average American or above average educated American can go her whole life and never find a need to write the word "gratis." Read it? Rarely.


Actually gratis means free of charge, without payment, according to Collins English Dictionary, like in Latin languages including mine.

I understand that the word in question is not used in English and perhaps during centuries it lost its significance.

  • 1
    It's actually used a bit more in recent years thanks to Richard Stallman, but only in certain circles―I still wouldn't call it a common word, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are people who don't know it. – snailplane Oct 10 '14 at 7:42

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