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[kurt-see] /ˈkɜrt si/
noun, plural curtsies.
a respectful bow made by women and girls, consisting of bending the knees and lowering the body.
verb (used without object), curtsied, curtsying.
to make a curtsy.
Origin of curtsy
1520-30; variant of courtesy Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for curtsied
Historical Examples
  • Susan came out and stood on the steps and curtsied low—rustic fashion—but with a grace of her own.

  • Nor did the latter, having risen and curtsied, know what to do.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  • She curtsied to the Doctor as he passed—for they all loved him, and he had ever a kind word for all he met.

  • "Cha-armed to meet you, I'm sure," said Sophie, and curtsied to the ground.

    Actions and Reactions Rudyard Kipling
  • She dropped her candle and curtsied to the Countess's voice.

    Evan Harrington, Complete George Meredith
  • So saying, she curtsied and left me, overcome with surprise.

    Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry Etienne Leon Lamothe-Langon
  • They unbent so far as to smile when they curtsied or touched their hats, but did not take him to their bosoms.

    The Pagan's Cup Fergus Hume
  • They brought her up to Lampron's sketch, and curtsied neatly to her.

  • "I am only Audrey, your Excellency," she said, and curtsied as she spoke.

    Audrey Mary Johnston
  • I talked to him as if he had been a civilised being, I curtsied to him.

    Dodo Wonders E. F. Benson
British Dictionary definitions for curtsied


noun (pl) -sies, -seys
a formal gesture of greeting and respect made by women in which the knees are bent, the head slightly bowed, and the skirt held outwards
verb -sies, -sying, -sied, -seys, -seying, -seyed
(intransitive) to make a curtsy
Word Origin
C16: variant of courtesy
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 curtsied



1540s, "expression of respect," a variant of courtesy (q.v.). Specific meaning "a bending the knee and lowering the body as a gesture of respect" is from 1570s. Originally not exclusively feminine.


1550s, from curtsy (n.). Related: Curtsied; curtsying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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