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90s Slang You Should Know


[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
First recorded in 1520-30; variant of courtesy Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for curtsies
Historical Examples
  • Chord from the harmonium—the Child advances, and curtsies with much aplomb.

  • The curtsies of these German princesses are indeed quite wonderful.

  • She inquires if it is for the waltz, and hearing that it is, draws back and curtsies apologetically.

  • We saw them going toward the house, and exchanged bows and curtsies at a distance, but did not join them.

  • He blushed redder than ever at the sight of us, as we entered the hall and dropped him our curtsies.

    My Lady Ludlow Elizabeth Gaskell
  • A coloured servant would have opened the parlour, ushered us in, and with smiles and curtsies requested us to be seated.

    Pencil Sketches Eliza Leslie
  • When we had made our curtsies to the Empress she desired that we should go round and be presented to His Majesty.

    Fifty-One Years of Victorian Life Margaret Elizabeth Leigh Child-Villiers, Countess of Jersey
  • An old lady in a black dress and a cap, who curtsies up and down, and expresses herself ever so well.

    The American Henry James
  • She curtsies to Graeme and with a warning look at Granahan goes into room.

    The Turn of the Road Rutherford Mayne
  • It belonged to the old shawl and the demure bonnet, to the meekness of pose, to the bobbing of curtsies,—it was Victorian.

    Our House Elizabeth Robins Pennell
British Dictionary definitions for curtsies


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 curtsies



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



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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