courtesy

noun
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

courtesy

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Catch up on all the best fashion from the final Game of Thrones premiere, courtesy of the most stylish women this side of the Seven Kingdoms. Glamour, "What All the Game of Thrones Women Wore to the Season 8 Premiere Red Carpet," 4 Apr. 2019 The officer was doing a courtesy escort for fellow officer Tyron Andrews who died from cancer. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Dallas officer killed by suspected drunk driver while on funeral escort," 2 Oct. 2018 Place on the middle rack of a 3,000-foot Hong Kong high-rise that’s on fire, courtesy of a bad guy with an indeterminate foreign accent and sprinkle generously with cliches. Michael O’sullivan, kansascity, "In ‘Skyscraper,’ Dwayne Johnson’s charisma elevates a dumb movie," 12 July 2018 The first goal came just five minute into the game, courtesy of England's Kieran Tripper. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Gorillaz, Solomun & More React to Croatia's World Cup Win Over England," 11 July 2018 That's doubtless true, and this movie, courtesy of the long-time host of the popular children's shows, certainly delivers on the decency front. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Here are the best movies of 2018 (so far)," 11 July 2018 In this predicament, sweeping demands for courtesy may not go as far as small gestures. Michael Andor Brodeur, BostonGlobe.com, "5 (pretty easy) steps to improve civility online," 6 July 2018 Star-Spangled Spectacular Patriotic music and fireworks, courtesy of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Chris Kaltenbach, baltimoresun.com, "July 4th and more: the best of Baltimore's arts and entertainment scene this week," 1 July 2018 This weekend, though, the sonic situation at the peer gets a cool upgrade, courtesy of Chi-Soul Fest, the Chicago soul music festival that celebrates the city’s illustrious history of black music. Adam Lukach, RedEye Chicago, "5 things to do this weekend in Chicago," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Photos courtesy Ori Earlier this year, the MIT offshoot Ori launched an all-in-one robotic furniture system that made tiny apartments feel a little less tiny. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Ori’s new robotic furniture includes a bed that drops from the ceiling," 14 Nov. 2018 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter The allure of #VanLife is strong, from the nomadic lifestyle to the ability to camp wherever, whenever. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Modular camper van sleeps two and hauls gear, asks $37K," 22 Oct. 2018 The residents of Camp Shinnecock could hop in their courtesy cars and reach the players’ parking lot in 30 seconds. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "By Land or by Sea, U.S. Open Golfers Got Creative About Their Lodging," 16 June 2018 Ehling missed the tag and Gulley got back safely, while courtesy runner Casey Greene stayed at third, and the bases were loaded. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "Highlands baseball, Drew Rom hold off McCracken in state baseball semifinals," 16 June 2018 The Dragons extended their lead to 4-0 in the second with an RBI double from Cade Bell that scored courtesy runner Jaxon Osterberg. Brian Gosset, star-telegram, "Warden, Southlake Carroll dominate to win 6A state title," 9 June 2018 Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 0:00 / 0:42 Watch killer footage of killer whales off coast of Monterey Advertisement Killer whales swim off the Monterey coast in May 2018 in this video courtesy Monterey Bay Whale Watch . Don Sweeney, sacbee, "Watch 1,500 dolphins frolic with baby humpback whale off California in aerial video," 3 June 2018 Watson then hit his triple that allowed Sunseri and Stephen Perry, a courtesy runner, to score. Justin Maskulinski, Houston Chronicle, "The Woodlands takes down Round Rock, advances to state tourney," 1 June 2018 Photos courtesy of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty A crisp Donald Wexler midcentury modern is up for sale in that sunny California enclave of Palm Springs. Lauren Ro, Curbed, "Nab this Donald Wexler midcentury pad in Palm Springs for $725K," 29 May 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of courtesy

Noun

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

Adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about courtesy

Statistics for courtesy

Last Updated

17 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for courtesy

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for courtesy

courtesy

noun

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

courtesy

adjective

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

: done in order to be polite
: provided for free

courtesy

noun
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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on courtesy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for courtesy

Spanish Central: Translation of courtesy

Nglish: Translation of courtesy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of courtesy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on courtesy

What made you want to look up courtesy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

likely to have or produce good results

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!