Grateful vs. greatful?

Greatful is the incorrect spelling of grateful, an adjective that means “expressing gratitude” or “showing and feeling appreciative for something.”

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What is the difference between grateful and greatful?

Mindfulness, kindness, and generosity are capable of providing us with a feeling of happiness, hope, and relief, and we tend to attribute this combination of positive emotions to “gratitude.” When we feel gratitude (a noun), we are thankful and appreciative of an action or something received, and, in turn, we are more willing to “pay it forward.” 

The tricky part about using the noun gratitude is that it only conveys the state of “thankfulness,” whereas there are other related words that describe people as thankful, appreciative, indebted, and… grateful

When you need to describe someone as appreciative and thankful for something done or received, the correct word you’re looking for is grateful (adjective). “Greatful” is a common misspelling of grateful, but it’s easy to see why this spelling error is so common. 

For starters, the adjective great describes something as “very good,” “large,” “powerful,” and “extreme,” and we can easily relate one or all of these terms to the feeling of gratitude. However, writers are more apt to misspell grateful because “great” shares the same pronunciation as grate- (pronounced gr-ate). 

What is the definition of grateful?

The word grateful is an adjective that describes someone as  “expressing gratitude” or “showing or feeling appreciative of something done or received.” Related terms include the nouns gratitude, gratefulness, and the adverb gratefully

Example sentences:

  • “He is grateful to work and pay his bills despite the recent setback of last year.”
  • “Members are grateful to their higher power for providing them with enough turkey and bread to feed the community at this time.”
  • “The Senator received a grateful letter for her efforts to fight climate change.”
  • “We are grateful for the unceasing support of the editors at the Washington Post.”
  • “The children create a gratitude list on a daily basis, which often includes nice things about their parents, teachers, and neighbors.”
  • “Jack’s recent disposition pushed him into a space of gratitude for his family, opportunities, and material possessions he once took for granted.”
  • “We gratefully accept these gifts and hope to return the favor in coming years.”


Appreciative, appreciatory, beholden, contented, glad, gratified, indebted, obliged, pleased, satisfied, thankful.


Inappreciative, inhospitable, rude, thankless, thoughtless, unappreciative, ungrateful, ungracious.

Does grateful have another meaning?

Although it’s more archaic, the grateful can also describe something (or someone) as “pleasing,” “agreeable,” or “affording pleasure.” 

Example sentences: 

  • “A grateful breeze made its way through the neighborhood.” 
  • “Farmers enjoyed a grateful harvest last September.”
  • “Despite the weather, he managed to create a grateful fire beside the pond.”


Agreeable, blessed, delectable, delightful, felicitous, gratifying, luscious, palatable, savory, welcome.


Abominable, disagreeable, ghastly, god-awful, horrid, miserable, offensive, pleasureless, repugnant, unpalatable, unpleasant, unwelcome, vile, wretched.

Etymology of grateful

The word grateful derives from obsolete “grate” (‘agreeable’ or ‘pleasant’) via Latin gratus for ‘pleasing’ + -ful.

Is there a difference between gratitude and thankfulness?

The word gratitude describes the state of feeling grateful and ready to return kindness to others. The noun thankfulness is a state or expression of gratitude, making it the same experience as gratitude.

Published examples of grateful, gratefully, and gratefulness

“If you are struggling with feeling gratitude in your current situation, project yourself into the future and imagine how grateful you will be when your circumstances change…” — Columbus Business First

“He said he was grateful for the many strangers who stepped in to help reunite him with Buckley, one of the many dogs over the years to help him through difficult times…” — Newsweek

“The world seemed to be in an unending downward spiral, but at least we had takeout. And we had each other. For that we were grateful.” — The New York Times

“During an appearance at the WellChild Awards in London, Prince Harry explained that his new arrival is, gratefully, pretty chill…” — InStyle

“I saluted the dear man gratefully, perhaps divining that the gift he was giving me would illuminate my whole life thereafter.” — Vanity Fair

“Thankfully, the actors behind these characters broke the “model minority” mold to reveal a tale of disenfranchisement, worsened by the obligation to smile, nod and feign gratefulness that reflects an all-too-common entertainment industry experience for people of color.” — Los Angeles Times

Additional reading for greatful vs. grateful

Looking for other tricky buzzwords like “grateful”? Then be sure to check out the following grammar lessons from The Word Counter

Test Yourself!

Test how well you understand the difference between greatful and grateful with the following multiple-choice questions. 

  1. True or false?: The feeling of gratitude is the feeling of gratefulness.
    a. True
    b. False
  2. True or false?: “Greatful” and “grateful” are homophones because they have similar pronunciations but different meanings.
    a. True
    b. False
  3. Between “grateful” and “greatful,” which is the correct spelling of the word?
    a. Grateful
    b. Greatful
    c. Greatfull
    d. Gratefull
  4. Which of the following is not a synonym of “greateful”?
    a. Comfort
    b. Appreciation
    c. Abundance
    d. None of the above
  5. The word grateful is a ___________.
    a. Adverb
    b. Adjective
    c. Noun
    d. Verb
  6. If gratitude is the appreciation of kindness, the opposite word is ____________.
    a. Beholden
    b. Obliged
    c. Thankless
    d. Gratified

Quiz Answers

  1. A
  2. B
  3. A
  4. D
  5. B
  6. C


  1. American Heart Association. “Why maintaining a sense of gratitude could improve your health and wellbeing.” Columbus Business First,, 1 July 2021.
  2. DeSteno, D. “Why Gratitude Is Wasted on Thanksgiving.” The New York Times,, 23 Nov 2019. 
  3. Fitzgerald, I. “How the Show ‘Alone’ Sparked a Solo Trip and a Tough Realization.” The New York Times,, 30 Sept 2020. 
  4. Great.” Cambridge Dictionary, Cambridge University Press, 2021.
  5. Grateful.” Lexico, Oxford University Press, 2021.
  6. Grateful.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., 2021.
  7. Gratitude.” Lexico, Oxford University Press, 2021.
  8. Harper, D. “Grateful (adj.)Online Etymology Dictionary,, 2021.
  9. Kim, D. “What Hollywood can learn from the ‘Kim’s Convenience’ scandal — but probably won’t.” Los Angeles Times,, 11 June 2021.
  10. Luu, C. “Prince Harry Opened Up About Life at Home With Baby Lili.” InStyle,, 30 June 2021.
  11. Morris, J. “Jan Morris Remembers the Magic of Venice, Then and Now.Vanity Fair,, Jan 2015.
  12. Strozewski, Z. “Facebook Post Reunites Montana Man With His Dog After Bear Attack in Alaska.” Newsweek,, 1 July 2021.