[kur-tuh-see or for 5, kurt-see]

noun, plural cour·te·sies.


done or performed as a matter of courtesy or protocol: a courtesy call on the mayor.
offered or provided free by courtesy of the management: While waiting to board the airplane, we were provided with courtesy coffee.

Origin of courtesy

1175–1225; Middle English curteisie < Anglo-French, Old French; see courteous, -y3
Related formso·ver·cour·te·sy, nounun·cour·te·sy, noun, plural un·cour·te·sies.

Synonyms for courtesy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for courtesy

Contemporary Examples of courtesy

Historical Examples of courtesy

  • After this, nothing could restore the courtesy he had previously assumed.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Practically that is all we ever get from group-impulse—an act of courtesy.

  • He received us with courtesy and invited us to enter and see the fort.

  • The dwellers in the long-house extended every courtesy to Ninaka and his crew.

    The Monster Men

    Edgar Rice Burroughs

  • And courtesy in the young folk of to-day warms my old heart.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

British Dictionary definitions for courtesy


noun plural -sies

politeness; good manners
a courteous gesture or remark
favour or consent (esp in the phrase by courtesy of)
common consent as opposed to right (esp in the phrase by courtesy)See also courtesy title
(ˈkɜːtsɪ) an archaic spelling of curtsy

Word Origin for courtesy

C13 curteisie, from Old French, from corteis courteous
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 courtesy

early 13c., curteisie, from Old French curteisie (Modern French courtoisie), from curteis "courteous" (see courteous). A specialized sense of curteisie is the source of English curtsy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper