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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. See civil. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for courteously
Historical Examples
  • A very proper arrangement, sir, and one that does you infinite credit, returned the other courteously.

  • When we arrived, he treated us most courteously, and listened patiently to what we had to say.

  • The woman would have led again, but young Hallam cut in, none too courteously.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • “I should be sorry to do so until you give me reason,” answered the master, courteously.

    St. Winifred's Frederic W. Farrar
  • Then, advancing with a wan smile, he courteously greeted the callers.

    Carmen Ariza Charles Francis Stocking
  • Receive it courteously, as you would a stranger when introduced.

    Hamlet William Shakespeare
  • "Then I suppose you will not care to detain us any longer," Mr. Bryant courteously remarked.

    The Masked Bridal Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
  • They consulted each other with a look, and then courteously accepted the offer.

    The Son of Monte Christo Jules Lermina
  • The Dutch inhabitants were engaged in courteously escorting those of British birth or sympathies over the border, and I was alone.

    With Steyn and De Wet Philip Pienaar
  • "Yes," said Allan courteously, as if from an infinite distance.

    The Rose Garden Husband Margaret Widdemer
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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