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[kawrt-lee, kohrt-] /ˈkɔrt li, ˈkoʊrt-/
adjective, courtlier, courtliest.
polite, refined, or elegant:
courtly manners.
flattering; obsequious.
noting, pertaining to, or suitable for the court of a sovereign.
in a courtly manner; politely or flatteringly.
Origin of courtly
late Middle English
late Middle English word dating back to 1400-50; See origin at court, -ly
Related forms
courtliness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for courtliness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sir Terence was the very quintessence of courtliness, of concern for the other.

    The Snare Rafael Sabatini
  • She liked the courtliness, and gave in return her lovely smile and a little bow.

    Mistress Anne Temple Bailey
  • Her playfulness and pleasure in the game of courtliness forsook her.

  • And the kindliness and the courtliness of that bow made them very happy.

    The Crisis, Complete Winston Churchill
  • For never was her peer found for beauty, disposition, and courtliness.'

  • The evening was one to remember, with its brilliance and beauty and courtliness.

    A Journal from Japan

    Marie Carmichael Stopes
  • He took her to have an ice, and she observed with pleasure the courtliness with which he used her.

    The Bishop's Apron W. Somerset Maugham
  • He could flatter the young by his courtliness and amuse the old by his repartee.

    The Bishop's Apron W. Somerset Maugham
  • So to set an example of courtliness and humility, he sat among the lowest.

British Dictionary definitions for courtliness


adjective -lier, -liest
of or suitable for a royal court
refined in manner
Derived Forms
courtliness, noun
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 courtliness



mid-15c., "having manners befitting a court," from court (n.) + -ly (1). Meaning "pertaining to the court" is from late 15c. Courtly love "highly conventionalized medieval chivalric love" (amour courtois) is attested from 1896.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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