View synonyms for courtly


[ kawrt-lee, kohrt- ]


, 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.


  1. in a courtly manner; politely or flatteringly.


/ ˈkɔːtlɪ /


  1. of or suitable for a royal court
  2. refined in manner
  3. ingratiating
“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

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Derived Forms

  • ˈcourtliness, noun
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Other Words From

  • courtli·ness noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of courtly1

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; court, -ly
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Example Sentences

Al-Jazari’s courtly mechanical servants and the killer sentries in imaginative literature share a link to surveillance, foreshadowing another purpose to which AI and robots have often been turned.

Sentries and guards keep watch and discern friend from foe, while courtly servants operate in ritualized, hierarchical environments where people are under constant scrutiny.

The Turkish crescent—a pole with metal jangles—shook both on the battlefield and in courtly ceremonies.

Who was the most erotic poet of the late Renaissance and early Baroque, when the quatrain reached its courtly zenith?

Blumenthal, a courtly gentleman of 68 in a perfectly crisp blue shirt, gets laughs by trotting out his rudimentary Spanish.

The driver, Amadou Diallo, was a courtly African immigrant who made it a point to wear a tie as he worked.

Merivel By Rose Tremain In the sequel to Restoration, Robert Merivel is back, now in middle age, with another courtly farce.

From a long-awaited sequel to a courtly farce, to a memoir of a childhood spent in the ruins of American aristocracy.

He was greatly admired for his fine physique and courtly bearing, and yet but few sought his acquaintance.

Reining in his horse, he dismounted, and making what he thought a most courtly bow, he bade her good evening.

He spoke her own tongue fluently, and never in Constantinople had she met a gentleman more at his ease in courtly company.

But, first, shall I not buy you a book—some exquisite book full of strange perfumes and passionate courtly gestures?

Until quite recently a courtly, aristocratic art had shed its light upon the whole of Europe.





court-leetcourtly love