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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Please do not exacerbate the situation by vilifying people for delivering an automatic courtesy with no intention of ill will. Jacobina Martin, Washington Post, 1 Aug. 2022 According to the leak, courtesy of Android developer and leaker Kuba Wojciechowski, both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will use Samsung’s 11-megapixel Isocell 3J1 sensor in their front-facing ‘selfie’ cameras. Paul Monckton, Forbes, 31 July 2022 For Rosalía, this mandate manifested as a slicked and braided updo—finished in a playful spray of fiery red—as elsewhere, Troye Sivan and his mussed curls enjoyed a meta moment courtesy of his new YSL Beauty campaign. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 31 July 2022 Donors will be served a free breakfast, courtesy of the Knights of Columbus, and will be entered into a drawing. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 July 2022 Kvyat’s team would appreciate a schedule expansion courtesy of additional sponsorship money. Michael Marot,, 30 July 2022 Kvyat's team would appreciate a schedule expansion courtesy of additional sponsorship money. Michael Marot, ajc, 30 July 2022 Dabbles of trombones, the signature guitar-funk sound of co-writer Nile Rodgers and percussion courtesy of Sheila E. equate to a pulsing head-nodder. Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 29 July 2022 Phone scammers rely on our innate sense of courtesy and also the element of surprise. Annaliese Griffin, Fortune, 29 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective After a female flagged a patrol officer down at 4:25 p.m. on May 18 between Cedar Road and Fairmount Boulevard, she was given a courtesy ride to Beachwood Place. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, 28 May 2022 The woman, who also was drunk, was given a courtesy ride to the police station to call for a ride home. John Benson, cleveland, 13 July 2022 On Sunday afternoon, though, the myriad accidents were courtesy of the Los Angeles Angels, part of a second consecutive four-run inning for Baltimore. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 10 July 2022 Planning is essential when most fireworks are shipped from China, and almost all of the fireworks display industry’s business is courtesy of just one day of the year. Daniel Wu, Washington Post, 30 June 2022 Officers noted that the ex, a Lyndhurst woman, 43, was obviously intoxicated and defiant about leaving, but eventually agreed to a courtesy ride home. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, 2 July 2022 Eva Marcille's beauty look came courtesy makeup artist Terrell Mullin, who created one of the most all-out glamorous eye lash moments of the night. Allure Staff, Allure, 26 June 2022 The Water tier, with 327 memberships for sale, keeps those offerings and adds to them courtesy car access, an invitation to all quarterly membership events and a monthly curated omakase members dinner, among other perks. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 23 June 2022 This unusually cool weather is courtesy of an upper level system pushing across New England. Dave Epstein,, 19 June 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near courtesy



courtesy book

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Statistics for courtesy

Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Courtesy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for courtesy


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on courtesy

Nglish: Translation of courtesy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of courtesy for Arabic Speakers


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