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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 courteousness
Historical Examples
  • Good manners consist, for the most part, in courteousness and kindness.

    Character Samuel Smiles
  • The courteousness of the greeting did more than to put Joseph at his ease, as the saying is.

    The Brook Kerith George Moore
  • courteousness is peculiarly suited to their age and sex, and particularly expected of them.

  • Any man of courteousness alone must have loved her, but would not have dared to own his passion.

  • And now they treated him with that courteousness of manner which success in life always begets.

    Phineas Finn

    Anthony Trollope
  • She stretched out her hand and it was taken with the greatest poise and courteousness.

    The Camp Fire Girls on a Yacht Margaret Love Sanderson
  • It wont harm them to hint that in sympathy and courteousness they had better not present too sharp a contrast to "my doctor."

    Ginger-Snaps Fanny Fern
  • So you carry out the different laws of courteousness, of helpfulness, and friendliness to others that come in the Guide Law.

  • Personally he possesses charming, agreeable manners and Chesterfieldan courteousness, which vastly contributes to his popularity.

    The Merry-Go-Round Carl Van Vechten
  • Nevertheless, I had risen to make this answer, the ill grace of which I strove to attenuate by the courteousness of my attitude.

    Led Astray and The Sphinx Octave Feuillet
British Dictionary definitions for courteousness


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 courteousness



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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