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curtsy

[kurt-see]
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noun, plural curt·sies.
  1. a respectful bow made by women and girls, consisting of bending the knees and lowering the body.
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verb (used without object), curt·sied, curt·sy·ing.
  1. to make a curtsy.
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Origin of curtsy

First recorded in 1520–30; variant of courtesy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for curtsy

Historical Examples

  • "My name is Merle Uthoug," said the dark one, with a curtsy.

    The Great Hunger

    Johan Bojer

  • The little girl took it smilingly, made me a curtsy, and went on.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • The "all-highest Lord" looks daggers at me—I curtsy and smile!

  • There was a tremble in her voice as she slipped from the davenport and bobbed a curtsy.

    Mary Rose of Mifflin

    Frances R. Sterrett

  • "I shall in all things serve your Grace," said she, with a curtsy.

    Little Novels of Italy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett


British Dictionary definitions for curtsy

curtsy

curtsey

noun plural -sies or -seys
  1. 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
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verb -sies, -sying, -sied, -seys, -seying or -seyed
  1. (intr) to make a curtsy
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Word Origin

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 curtsy

n.

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.

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v.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper