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90s Slang You Should Know


[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 courtly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He thanked the courtly soldier, and walked proudly forward, followed by his brother.

    America First Frances Nimmo Greene
  • There was nothing suave in the colonel's manner, nothing slow or ponderous or courtly.

    Jack O' Judgment Edgar Wallace
  • When you politely decline these, the courtly one most likely says, "You no likee tea and seeds—then have whiskysoda."

    East of Suez Frederic Courtland Penfield
  • Then giving his guide a dime, he dismissed him with a courtly bow, and knocked.

    The heart of happy hollow Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • He raised the hand she gave him to his lips and kissed it in a courtly fashion.

    A Young Man's Year Anthony Hope
British Dictionary definitions for courtly


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 courtly

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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