having or showing good manners; polite.

Origin of courteous

1225–75; court + -eous; replacing Middle English co(u)rteis < Anglo-French; see court, -ese
Related formscour·te·ous·ly, adverbcour·te·ous·ness, nouno·ver·cour·te·ous, adjectiveo·ver·cour·te·ous·ly, adverbo·ver·cour·te·ous·ness, nounpseu·do·cour·te·ous, adjectivepseu·do·cour·te·ous·ly, adverbqua·si-cour·te·ous, adjectivequa·si-cour·te·ous·ly, adverb

Synonyms for courteous

Synonym study

See civil. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for courteously

politely, obligingly, affably

Examples from the Web for courteously

Historical Examples of courteously

  • The woman would have led again, but young Hallam cut in, none too courteously.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • They were to greet her courteously, and inquire who she was.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • He approached them, and courteously inquired the way to the nearest town.

    Maid Marian

    Thomas Love Peacock

  • "I have no more this morning," responded Mrs. Brady courteously.

  • Can he courteously talk to an equal, and browbeat an impudent dunce?

    Farm Ballads

    Will Carleton

British Dictionary definitions for courteously



polite and considerate in manner
Derived Formscourteously, adverbcourteousness, noun

Word Origin for courteous

C13 corteis, literally: with courtly manners, from Old French; see court
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 courteously



mid-14c., earlier curteis (c.1300), from Old French curteis (Modern French courtois) "having courtly bearing or manners," from curt "court" (see court (n.)) + -eis, from Latin -ensis.

Rare before c.1500. In feudal society, also denoting a man of good education (hence the name Curtis). Medieval courts were associated with good behavior and also beauty; e.g. German hübsch "beautiful," from Middle High German hübesch "beautiful," originally "courteous, well-bred," from Old Franconian hofesch, from hof "court." Related: Courteously (mid-14c., kurteis-liche).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper