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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

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Synonym study

See civil. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for courteousness

civility, gentility, manners, graciousness, politeness

Examples from the Web for courteousness

Historical Examples of courteousness

British Dictionary definitions for courteousness


  1. 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 courteousness



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