cour·​te·​ous | \ ˈkər-tē-əs How to pronounce courteous (audio) , British also ˈkȯ- \

Definition of courteous

1 : marked by polished manners, gallantry, or ceremonial usage of a court
2 : marked by respect for and consideration of others

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Other Words from courteous

courteously adverb
courteousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of courteous in a Sentence

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 … 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 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 Diary1970 The clerks were helpful and courteous. their customer service department always gives courteous responses, even to rude people
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Recent Examples on the Web Here are some cheeky yet courteous ways to ensure your fellow human being gives you that much needed space. René A. Guzman,, "10 fun ways to tell people to back off and keep their social distance to avoid the coronavirus," 28 Apr. 2020 For our coronavirus tracker and more coverage, see our hub AT DINNER IN China, a courteous host uses her chopsticks to take the tastiest morsel from a communal dish and put it on the plate of an honoured guest. The Economist, "Revolution at the dinner party China asks: what’s the safest way to use chopsticks?," 23 Apr. 2020 Store staff are seen as courteous and helpful, but checkout speed could use some improvement. NBC News, "These are America's favorite online and brick-and-mortar stores. Is yours on the list?," 6 Mar. 2020 Being pleasant and courteous will have a ripple effect with those around you. oregonlive, "Horoscope for March 2, 2020: Happy birthday Daniel Craig; Libra, get outside, enjoy nature," 2 Mar. 2020 Here are the pro's: The Romans are way more courteous and respectful of your personal space with social distancing rules in effect. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "The global rally at risk of fizzling after Thursday’s historic ‘bull’ run," 27 Mar. 2020 If the courteous approach doesn’t work, governments can use more heavy-handed tactics. al, "Can you get arrested for walking on the beach? Who enforces public health orders?," 20 Mar. 2020 So instead of avoiding disagreements, aim for courteous conflict instead. Samantha Boardman, Marie Claire, "How to Fight Fair In Relationships," 31 Jan. 2020 Be Thankful Be courteous, but cautious with grocery employees. Sunset Magazine, "The New Rules of Grocery Shopping Under Quarantine," 31 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'courteous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of courteous

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for courteous

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

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Time Traveler for courteous

Time Traveler

The first known use of courteous was in the 13th century

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Statistics for courteous

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Courteous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for courteous


How to pronounce courteous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of courteous

: very polite in a way that shows respect


cour·​te·​ous | \ ˈkər-tē-əs How to pronounce courteous (audio) \

Kids Definition of courteous

: showing respect and consideration for others : polite

Other Words from courteous

courteously adverb

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Comments on courteous

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