noun, plural curt·sies.

a respectful bow made by women and girls, consisting of bending the knees and lowering the body.

verb (used without object), curt·sied, curt·sy·ing.

to make a curtsy.

Origin of curtsy

First recorded in 1520–30; variant of courtesy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for curtsied

Historical Examples of curtsied

  • She curtsied low, and put her hand under mine and raised my hand and kissed it.

  • Genevive curtsied with a puzzled air and a sidelong glance at her sister.

    The Suitors of Yvonne

    Raphael Sabatini

  • He bowed again; and again he bore her fingers to his lips, what time she curtsied.


    Rafael Sabatini

  • Is your chilling salute when we met—I half believe you curtsied—nothing?

    Lord Kilgobbin

    Charles Lever

  • Miss Milner curtsied, as much as to say, he was welcome to come.

    A Simple Story

    Mrs. Inchbald

British Dictionary definitions for curtsied



noun plural -sies or -seys

a formal gesture of greeting and respect made by women in which the knees are bent, the head slightly bowed, and the skirt held outwards

verb -sies, -sying, -sied, -seys, -seying or -seyed

(intr) to make a curtsy

Word Origin for curtsy

C16: variant of courtesy
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 curtsied



1550s, from curtsy (n.). Related: Curtsied; curtsying.



1540s, "expression of respect," a variant of courtesy (q.v.). Specific meaning "a bending the knee and lowering the body as a gesture of respect" is from 1570s. Originally not exclusively feminine.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper