adjective cour·te·ous \ ˈkər-tē-əs , British also ˈkȯ- \
|Updated on: 6 Jul 2018

Definition of courteous

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





Examples of courteous in a Sentence

  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 WinchesterThe Man Who Loved China2008
  2. … she has seen generations of boys come and go, some well groomed and courteous, others rough and uppity … —Julian BarnesNew Yorker5 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 Diary1970
  4. The clerks were helpful and courteous.

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

Recent Examples of courteous from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of courteous

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

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

COURTEOUS Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of courteous for English Language Learners

  • : very polite in a way that shows respect

COURTEOUS Defined for Kids


adjective cour·te·ous \ ˈkər-tē-əs \

Definition of courteous for Students

: showing respect and consideration for others : polite



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