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[kur-tee-uh s] /ˈkɜr ti əs/
having or showing good manners; polite.
Origin of courteous
1225-75; court + -eous; replacing Middle English co(u)rteis < Anglo-French; see court, -ese
Related forms
courteously, adverb
courteousness, noun
overcourteous, adjective
overcourteously, adverb
overcourteousness, noun
pseudocourteous, adjective
pseudocourteously, adverb
quasi-courteous, adjective
quasi-courteously, adverb
mannerly, gracious, courtly.
Synonym Study
See civil. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for courteously
Historical Examples
  • The woman would have led again, but young Hallam cut in, none too courteously.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • They were to greet her courteously, and inquire who she was.

    Welsh Fairy Tales William Elliott Griffis
  • He approached them, and courteously inquired the way to the nearest town.

    Maid Marian Thomas Love Peacock
  • "I have no more this morning," responded Mrs. Brady courteously.

    The Widow O'Callaghan's Boys Gulielma Zollinger
  • Can he courteously talk to an equal, and browbeat an impudent dunce?

    Farm Ballads Will Carleton
  • "And you will still be more often there in my time, I hope," Henry Dunbar answered, courteously.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
  • "I never suggested that for a moment," said Philip courteously.

  • I doffed my hat in a grave salutation, which was courteously returned.

    The Suitors of Yvonne Raphael Sabatini
  • I lowered my glance abashed, and answered her as courteously as I could.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
  • Yet they courteously saluted the cook-demon, and asked for an interview with the chief.

    Japanese Fairy World William Elliot Griffis
British Dictionary definitions for courteously


polite and considerate in manner
Derived Forms
courteously, adverb
courteousness, noun
Word Origin
C13 corteis, literally: with courtly manners, from Old French; see court
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for courteously



mid-14c., earlier curteis (c.1300), from Old French curteis (Modern French courtois) "having courtly bearing or manners," from curt "court" (see court (n.)) + -eis, from Latin -ensis.

Rare before c.1500. In feudal society, also denoting a man of good education (hence the name Curtis). Medieval courts were associated with good behavior and also beauty; e.g. German hübsch "beautiful," from Middle High German hübesch "beautiful," originally "courteous, well-bred," from Old Franconian hofesch, from hof "court." Related: Courteously (mid-14c., kurteis-liche).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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