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

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
Recent Examples on the Web The Senate Judiciary Committee opened Supreme Court confirmation hearings Monday with pointed but courteous questions for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman nominated for the nation’s highest court. Mark Sherman And Mary Clare Jalonick,, 21 Mar. 2022 There are those courteous and supportive drivers out there that sometimes act in that selfless manner. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 24 Sep. 2021 An addendum in Superintendent Vince Matthews’ contract last year required the board to act professionally, be courteous and focus on the district’s massive budget shortfall as part of a deal reached to delay Matthews’ planned retirement last year. Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 Mar. 2022 Being courteous and gentle is thought to bring good fortune and luck. Avery Newmark, ajc, 1 Feb. 2022 Uzbeks are amazing hosts and will go out of their way to be helpful and courteous to visitors. Joshua Jung, USA TODAY, 17 Jan. 2022 The elegant former Japanese capital of Kyoto is a hugely popular choice for amorous visitors thanks to its beguiling mix of sites, history, culture, cuisine and always-courteous approach to guests. Chris Dwyer, CNN, 9 Feb. 2022 Raatz thanked the room several times for their courteous behavior. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, 9 Feb. 2022 Once on the ground, the wait at baggage claim will be just long enough to make even the most courteous people start pulling their masks off, using them as tissues, and then tossing them at other travellers. Tom Papa, The New Yorker, 3 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

27 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Courteous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for courteous


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

More from Merriam-Webster on courteous

Nglish: Translation of courteous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of courteous for Arabic Speakers


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