• synonyms


[kawrt-lee, kohrt-]
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adjective, court·li·er, court·li·est.
  1. polite, refined, or elegant: courtly manners.
  2. flattering; obsequious.
  3. noting, pertaining to, or suitable for the court of a sovereign.
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  1. in a courtly manner; politely or flatteringly.
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Origin of courtly

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at court, -ly
Related formscourt·li·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for courtliness

dignity, nuance, tact, subtlety, delicacy, precision, elegance, sophistication, nicety, finesse, erudition, grace, graciousness, civility, kindness, hauteur, sympathy, generosity, reverence, deference

Examples from the Web for courtliness

Contemporary Examples of courtliness

Historical Examples of courtliness

British Dictionary definitions for courtliness


adjective -lier or -liest
  1. of or suitable for a royal court
  2. refined in manner
  3. ingratiating
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Derived Formscourtliness, noun
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 courtliness



mid-15c., "having manners befitting a court," from court (n.) + -ly (1). Meaning "pertaining to the court" is from late 15c. Courtly love "highly conventionalized medieval chivalric love" (amour courtois) is attested from 1896.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper