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  1. showing or having good manners or sophistication; smooth: Sending her flowers would be a very couth thing to do.
  1. good manners; refinement: to be lacking in couth.

Origin of couth1

First recorded in 1895–1900; back formation from uncouth


adjective Archaic.
  1. known or acquainted with.

Origin of couth2

before 1000; Middle English, Old English cūth past participle of cunnan to know1 (see can2, could)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for couther


  1. facetious refined
  2. archaic familiar; known

Word Origin

Old English cūth known, past participle of cunnan to know; sense 1, back formation from uncouth
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 couther



Old English cuðe "known," past participle of cunnan (see can (v.1)), from Proto-Germanic *kunthaz (cf. Old Frisian kuth "known," Old Saxon cuth, Old High German kund, German kund, Gothic kunþs "known").

Died out as such 16c. with the emergence of could, but the old word was reborn 1896, with a new sense of "cultured, refined," as a back-formation from uncouth (q.v.). The Old English word forms the first element in the man's proper name Cuthbert, literally "famous-bright."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper