cour·​te·​sy | \ ˈkər-tə-sē How to pronounce courtesy (audio) , British also ˈkȯ- \
plural courtesies

Definition of courtesy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : behavior marked by polished manners or respect for others : courteous behavior
b : a courteous and respectful act or expression
2a : general allowance despite facts : indulgence hills called mountains by courtesy only
b : consideration, cooperation, and generosity in providing something (such as a gift or privilege) also : agency, means used chiefly in the phrases through the courtesy of or by courtesy of or sometimes simply courtesy of


cour·​te·​sy | \ ˈkər-tə-sē How to pronounce courtesy (audio) , British also ˈkȯ- \

Definition of courtesy (Entry 2 of 2)

: granted, provided, or performed as a courtesy or by way of courtesy (see courtesy entry 1) made a courtesy call on the ambassador

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Examples of courtesy in a Sentence

Noun Civilized life cannot be sustained without hypocrisy. A certain moral code, a degree of courtesy and decorum, are necessary to keep our instincts under a modicum of control. — Ian Buruma, New York Review of Books, 2 Nov. 2006 Cara, who, courtesy of the cat, had a run in her leggings, picked up the phone in a panic … — Helen Schulman, Wigwag, November 1990 "Coffee, sir?" asked a sailor. I nodded, still chilled. The courtesy, the ordinariness of these men was in the context somehow curious. — Fred Reed, Harper's, September 1988 I tried to persuade him that all that Hamish Hamilton had attempted to do was to extend the kind of courtesies which cultural institutions thought to be his due. — Isaiah Berlin, New York Times Book Review, 12 Apr. 1987 They treated us with courtesy and kindness. She did it as a courtesy, not because she had to. Everyone knows each other here, so we won't bother with the usual courtesies. They shook hands and exchanged courtesies before beginning their discussion. Adjective As the heir to an earldom, Stephen was obliged to pay a courtesy call on the British ambassador … — Ken Follett, The Man from St. Petersburg, 1982 Important visitors to the conference were provided with courtesy cars.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The toppings contributed interesting notes – funkiness from the truffle aioli, summery brightness courtesy of the heirlooms, creaminess from the cheddar – but this is one seamless burger. Matt Wake |, al, 3 June 2021 As always, expect to find lots of local elements: Baker’s Farm pork, dry-aged beef courtesy of Martin’s Angus Beef, and a colorful cornucopia via Mackintosh Fruit Farm. Washington Post, 3 June 2021 In the Philadelphia area, some 22 crews totaling 258 seamen had been vaccinated as of Saturday, courtesy of rides to local pharmacies, said Helene Pierson, executive director of the Seamen’s Church Institute of Philadelphia and South Jersey., 2 June 2021 One of the biggest tests of the post-presidential sway of Donald Trump may come courtesy of an ambitious Texas politician named George Bush. Rick Klein, Averi Harper, ABC News, 2 June 2021 Love worked to regain her creative mojo courtesy of guitar lessons from British musician Juliette Jackson of the indie rock group Big Moon. Keaton Bell, Vogue, 2 June 2021 Right now the largest virtual currency is more than twice as big as Ether but the gap narrowed by about $350 billion in May, courtesy of one of Bitcoin’s worst drops and a smaller retreat in Ether. Joanna Ossinger, Fortune, 1 June 2021 Simon calls the service a courtesy to its tenants within its centers. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, 31 May 2021 And then a jug of milk flies through her window, courtesy of Mr. Delrasso, sending shards of glass flying; through the room, into Mare’s hair and, most distressingly, onto the sandwich. Casey Mink, Vulture, 31 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Lovejoy scored in the top of the sixth when Owens led off with a double and courtesy runner Mia Chase scored on a triple by Sydney Bardwell. Greg Riddle, Dallas News, 27 May 2021 The recipes are courtesy of Today’s Special cookbook by Phaidon as shared by Fine Dining Lovers. Diana Davila, Robb Report, 4 May 2021 Leading 3-2, Hoover added a run in the fourth when Lucas Steele walked, Short singled and courtesy runner Connor Prothro scored on a wild pitch. Bill Lumpkin Iii, al, 14 May 2021 The tip-off to the alleged scheme came when Riverside County sent a courtesy notice to the Norco landowner, confirming that the deed to his property had been transferred. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Apr. 2021 He was given a courtesy ride into Chesterland at his request. cleveland, 25 Feb. 2021 All descriptions are courtesy of the streaming service. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 27 Apr. 2021 The oxygen in two of those deep breaths is courtesy of a perhaps surprising but fundamentally important source: the ocean. Vicki Phillips, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2021 Fayetteville's decision to have a courtesy runner Eli Power go to third on a ground ball led to the only run being scored as the Bulldogs claimed a 1-0 victory over Bentonville during 6A-West Conference action at the Tiger Athletic Complex. Henry Apple, Arkansas Online, 13 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'courtesy.' 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 courtesy


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1613, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for courtesy

Noun and Adjective

Middle English corteisie, from Anglo-French curteisie, from curteis — see courteous

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Time Traveler for courtesy

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for courtesy

Last Updated

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Courtesy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for courtesy



English Language Learners Definition of courtesy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: polite behavior that shows respect for other people
: something that you do because it is polite, kind, etc.
: something that you say to be polite especially when you meet someone



English Language Learners Definition of courtesy (Entry 2 of 2)

: done in order to be polite
: provided for free


cour·​te·​sy | \ ˈkər-tə-sē How to pronounce courtesy (audio) \
plural courtesies

Kids Definition of courtesy

1 : the quality or state of being respectful and considerate of others
2 : a polite or generous act or expression Hot meals were served through the courtesy of volunteers.
3 : something that is a favor and not a right Transportation is provided as a courtesy of the hotel.


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