courtly

adjective
court·​ly | \ ˈkȯrt-lē How to pronounce courtly (audio) \
courtlier; courtliest

Definition of courtly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of a quality befitting the court : elegant
b : insincerely flattering
2 : favoring the policy or party of the court

courtly

adverb

Definition of courtly (Entry 2 of 2)

: in a courtly manner : politely

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from courtly

Adjective

courtliness noun

Examples of courtly in a Sentence

Adjective his courtly manners made him a favorite escort of widowed socialites
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The quartet took a stately tempo in the minuet, emphasizing its courtly associations. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, 27 Apr. 2021 Dinkins, meanwhile, was known for his courtly manner, dapper dress, and meticulous grammar and speaking style, which represented a refreshing change for many New Yorkers. Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times, 23 Nov. 2020 Ballad’s third-person past fits Coriolanus’ intellectual courtly existence, all fake smiles and knowing banter with addled professors. Darren Franich, EW.com, 19 May 2020 Early last month, at a Mexican restaurant in Seattle, the first United States hot spot of the coronavirus outbreak, Mr. Hayes worked around the no-handshaking protocol with a good-natured, mock-courtly bow. John Schwartz, New York Times, 20 Apr. 2020 Could this courtly gentleman really be capable of brutal savagery? Michael Dirda, Washington Post, 21 Aug. 2019 The cops’ fictional pursuit of the Red Queen intersects with historical events and there are some delightful real-life cameos here, particularly the portrait of a wry and courtly Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., then the ambassador to South Vietnam. Jennifer Reese, New York Times, 20 Feb. 2020 Conan Doyle himself viewed these courtly and martial virtues as sacrosanct. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2020 Vincent Canby, however, the courtly film critic for The New York Times, was not one of them. Neil Genzlinger, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The courtly senator with chiseled features and a thick shock of gray hair was so popular with Virginia voters that Democrats did not bother to challenge him in 2002 for his re-election to his fifth term. CBS News, 26 May 2021 Warner, a courtly figure with chiseled features and a thick shock of gray hair, was so popular with Virginia voters that Democrats did not bother to challenge him in 2002 for his re-election to his fifth term. Eileen Putman, Anchorage Daily News, 26 May 2021 Properly taken at a thumping one beat per measure, the Minuet was more earthy than courtly. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 21 May 2021 Some history books will tell you that its counterbalanced cars were named Alphonse and Gaston, after two absurdly courtly Frenchmen, characters in a comic strip. Los Angeles Times, 18 May 2021 Her performers — many first-timers with CFCArts Theatre — again step up, from courtly waltzing to a boisterous peasant dance. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, 18 Apr. 2021 The subject confronts the viewer with a direct gaze, evoking the courtly portraits of the mid-17th century painter Diego Velázquez. New York Times, 20 Apr. 2021 To my ears, the second movement Andante presages the mature Mozart’s biting sarcasm, its dotted martial theme as tragicomic as a toy soldier; winking courtly flourishes in the MOB winds only drove the impression home. Hannah Edgar, chicagotribune.com, 30 Mar. 2021 In fact, the reindeer herders turn out to be quite courtly to the fair-haired Norwegian. Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2021

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

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

circa 1592, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About courtly

Time Traveler for courtly

Time Traveler

The first known use of courtly was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for courtly

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Courtly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/courtly. Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for courtly

courtly

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of courtly

: polite and graceful in a formal way

courtly

adjective
court·​ly | \ ˈkȯrt-lē How to pronounce courtly (audio) \
courtlier; courtliest

Kids Definition of courtly

: polite and graceful in a formal way courtly manners

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

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!