[ kawrt-lee, kohrt- ]
/ ˈkɔrt li, ˈkoʊrt- /

adjective, court·li·er, court·li·est.

polite, refined, or elegant: courtly manners.
flattering; obsequious.
noting, pertaining to, or suitable for the court of a sovereign.


in a courtly manner; politely or flatteringly.

Nearby words

  1. courtesy light,
  2. courtesy title,
  3. courthouse,
  4. courtier,
  5. courting mirror,
  6. courtly love,
  7. courtrai,
  8. courtroom,
  9. courtship,
  10. courtship display

Origin of courtly

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at court, -ly

Related formscourt·li·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for courtly

British Dictionary definitions for courtly


/ (ˈkɔːtlɪ) /

adjective -lier or -liest

of or suitable for a royal court
refined in manner
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 courtly



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper