Gracility is slenderness, the condition of being gracile, which means slender. It derives from the Latin adjective gracilis (masculine or feminine), or gracile (neuter), which in either form means slender, and when transferred for example to discourse takes the sense of "without ornament", "simple" or various similar connotations.

In Glossary of Botanic Terms, B. D. Jackson speaks dismissively of an entry in earlier dictionary of A. A. Crozier as follows: "Gracilis (Lat.), slender. Crozier has the needless word 'gracile'". However, his objection would be hard to sustain in current usage; apart from the fact that gracile is a natural and convenient term, it is hardly a neologism. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary gives the source date for that usage as 1623 and indicates the word is misused (through association with grace) for "gracefully slender". This misuse is unfortunate at least, because the terms gracile and grace are unrelated: the etymological root of grace is the Latin word gratia from gratus, meaning 'pleasing', and has nothing to do with slenderness or thinness.[citation needed]

In biology

In biology, the term is in common use, whether as English or Latin:

In biological taxonomy, gracile is the specific name or specific epithet for various species. Where the gender is appropriate, the form is gracilis. Examples include:

The same root appears in the names of some genera and higher taxa:

See also

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