I was watching a Youtube cooking video, where an American chef says of a compliment that she receives:'he never gives gratuitous compliments, so I'll take it!'.
I was confused, as personally, I understood 'gratuitous' to roughly mean 'unnecessary/unjustified' and used with negative connotations, whereas this was positive and seemed to be used to roughly mean 'free'. I looked up a few dictionaries online, and there seem to be a slight variable in the number and priority of definitions.
Here are a few examples: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gratuitous (American) https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/gratuitous (British) https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/gratuitous (British)
My question is: do both American and British people use the two most common definitions quite commonly (ie. 1) meaning 'given unearned or without recompense' 2) meaning 'unnecessary, unjustified, and often harmful or upsetting) Or is there a pattern of use that differs between Americans and British? I ask because I (as a New Zealander - ie. from commonwealth nation) have never really heard anyone around me use 'gratuitous' to mean the former before, so wondering if it's a cultural thing, or just my lack of experience...XD Thank you:)