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courtly

[kawrt-lee, kohrt-]
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adjective, court·li·er, court·li·est.
  1. polite, refined, or elegant: courtly manners.
  2. flattering; obsequious.
  3. noting, pertaining to, or suitable for the court of a sovereign.
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adverb
  1. in a courtly manner; politely or flatteringly.
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Origin of courtly

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at court, -ly
Related formscourt·li·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for courtly

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • A queen in the magnificence of her courtly surroundings could not have conquered him so quickly.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Casanova signified his refusal with an exaggerated but courtly gesture.

    Casanova's Homecoming

    Arthur Schnitzler

  • Mr Dorrit welcomed the visitor with the highest urbanity, and most courtly manners.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • Monseigneur received him in a courtly manner, but they did not shake hands.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • Mrs Varden called up quite a courtly air, and became seated.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens


British Dictionary definitions for courtly

courtly

adjective -lier or -liest
  1. of or suitable for a royal court
  2. refined in manner
  3. ingratiating
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Derived Formscourtliness, 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

Word Origin and History for courtly

adj.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper