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adjective cour·te·ous \ˈkər-tē-əs, British also ˈkȯr-\

Simple Definition of courteous

  • : very polite in a way that shows respect

Full Definition of courteous

  1. 1 :  marked by polished manners, gallantry, or ceremonial usage of a court

  2. 2 :  marked by respect for and consideration of others

cour·te·ous·ly adverb
cour·te·ous·ness noun

Examples of courteous

  1. There was no doubt that his stubbornly held and trenchantly expressed views—his trenchancy always tempered, however, by his gently courteous manner—contributed significantly to his unpopularity … —Simon Winchester, The Man Who Loved China, 2008

  2. … she has seen generations of boys come and go, some well groomed and courteous, others rough and uppity … —Julian Barnes, New Yorker, 5 Mar. 1990

  3. He joined us in the Yellow Room with … his son, a thoughtful, courteous, nice doctor … —Lady Bird Johnson, 27 May 1964, in A White House Diary, 1970

  4. The clerks were helpful and courteous.

  5. <their customer service department always gives courteous responses, even to rude people>

Origin of courteous

Middle English corteis, from Anglo-French curteis, from curt

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of courteous

civil, polite, courteous, gallant, chivalrous mean observant of the forms required by good breeding. civil often suggests little more than the avoidance of overt rudeness <owed the questioner a civil reply>. polite commonly implies polish of speech and manners and sometimes suggests an absence of cordiality <if you can't be pleasant, at least be polite>. courteous implies more actively considerate or dignified politeness <clerks who were unfailingly courteous to customers>. gallant and chivalrous imply courteous attentiveness especially to women. gallant suggests spirited and dashing behavior and ornate expressions of courtesy <a gallant suitor of the old school>. chivalrous suggests high-minded and self-sacrificing behavior <a chivalrous display of duty>.

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February 7, 2016

a slight offense

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