[ kom-i-tee ]
/ ˈkɒm ɪ ti /
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noun, plural com·i·ties.
mutual courtesy; civility.
Also called comity of nations. courtesy between nations, as in respect shown by one country for the laws, judicial decisions, and institutions of another.
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Origin of comity

First recorded in 1535–45; from Latin cōmitās, equivalent to cōm(is) “affable” + -itās -ity
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does comity mean?

Comity means mutual respect or civility. When two people or groups show comity, they behave toward each other in a way that’s respectful, courteous, and polite.

The term is used in a more specific way to refer to mutual respect demonstrated by two nations, especially by respecting and abiding by each other’s laws and judicial decisions. This is sometimes referred to by the phrase comity of nations.

Example: The two nations have a long tradition of comity, which makes the recent disagreement about extradition seem very unusual.

Where does comity come from?

The first records of comity come from the 1500s. It comes from the Latin word cōmitās, from cōm(is), meaning “affable” or “friendly.” The suffix -ity is used to form abstract nouns that refer to a state or condition. When these elements are considered together, comity can be seen generally as a state of friendliness.

The term comity can refer to a sense of civility among two people or two groups in any setting. But it is especially used in the context of international law and business. In a legal sense, comity is the principle of respecting the laws of another entity. The phrase judicial comity refers to a court respecting the rulings of another jurisdiction. When used in the phrase comity of nations, comity refers to an interaction between countries in which each follows the laws of the other.

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What are some other forms related to comity?

  • comities (plural)

What are some synonyms for comity?

What are some words that share a root or word element with comity


  • comity of nations


What are some words that often get used in discussing comity?


How is comity used in real life?

Comity is most frequently used in political or legal contexts to describe the practice of recognizing the rules or laws of another party. It is also used more generally to describe a state of mutual respect between parties.



Try using comity!

Which of the following terms is NOT a synonym of comity?

A. civility
B. courtesy
C. disrespect
D. friendliness

How to use comity in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for comity

/ (ˈkɒmɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties
mutual civility; courtesy
the policy whereby one religious denomination refrains from proselytizing the members of another

Word Origin for comity

C16: from Latin cōmitās, from cōmis affable, obliging, of uncertain origin
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