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"Unentgeglich" is a word I can't find in dictionaries but have heard used. I think I have spelled it right. Can it be used to mean something is cost free?

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    „unentgeltlich“ – Carsten S May 18 '16 at 23:09
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    Which meaning of gratuitous are you referring to? Remember there're expressions such as gratuitous violence, where it would be better translated as unnötig, unangebracht, or synonyms along those lines. – Marakai May 19 '16 at 0:12
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    Leo has the following: dict.leo.org/ende/?lang=en&search=gratuitous free of charge, e.g. service adj. = unentgeltlich, gratis, kostenlos other meanings as Marakai already said can be überflüssig, unnötig, grundlos or unbegründet like in Gratuitous German tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GratuitousGerman – LiveWireBT May 19 '16 at 3:15
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    @Marakai, the OP says "cost free". – Carsten S May 19 '16 at 7:38
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    Context please! – Christian Geiselmann Feb 8 '18 at 12:51
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Unentgeltlich (your spelling is a bit off) is the most high-level expression to say something is "for free". It is often used by public administration, you nearly never hear it in everyday speech. Usability is also a bit limited because its only use is like in

Sie erhalten eine unentgeltliche Probepackung

while

Die Probepackung ist unentgeltlich

is gramatically right, but sounds very odd.

Kostenlos is more on the everyday side, means the same.

Both are used exclusively used saying that something does not cost money

The third one in the range, is umsonst, which can mean that something is for free, but has a second meaning of "in vain" or "useless" - The danger with this word is illustrated by

Meine Schule war kostenlos - Deine anscheinend umsonst

(Could mean both my and your education was for free, but rather targets at the second meaning, saying my education was for free, yours useless)

Despite of this, the last one is the most often used to say something is for free.

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    There's also "gratis". – Uwe May 19 '16 at 7:50
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    There's also "kostenfrei", "frei", "nicht kostenpflichtig", "gebühenfrei", "geschenkt", "für nichts", "billig", "ohne Entgelt", "nicht entgeltpflichtig" and maybe a gazillion of other expressions with the same or similar meaning. My answer tries to cover the three most important ones. – tofro May 19 '16 at 11:07
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    Not to forget für umme. – Martin Peters May 19 '16 at 12:43
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    für lau - nicht ganz so nah am sprachlichen Abgrund ;) – tofro May 20 '16 at 15:50
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"Unentgeltlich" is related to German "gratis", which matches the "old school" meaning of "without compensation expected", but which has little to do with how "gratuitous" is commonly used in the english language today (eg in "gratuitous sex and violence", implying a negative judgement) - which would, depending on context, be best translated by "sinnlos", "überflüssig", "verschwenderisch", "willkürlich".

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