po·​lite | \ pə-ˈlīt How to pronounce polite (audio) \
politer; politest

Definition of polite

1a : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of advanced culture
b : marked by refined cultural interests and pursuits especially in arts and belles lettres
2a : showing or characterized by correct social usage
b : marked by an appearance of consideration, tact, deference, or courtesy
c : marked by a lack of roughness or crudities polite literature

Other Words from polite

politely adverb
politeness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for polite

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 polite in a Sentence

It was polite of him to hold the door for them. Please be polite to the guests. It isn't polite to interrupt people when they're talking. She received some polite applause despite the mistakes in her performance.
Recent Examples on the Web Be polite in your refusals, but don't waste your time. Chicago Tribune, 27 June 2022 That brings us to Craig Kimbrel, who has been, to be polite, ineffective as a closer lately. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2022 Some families said the Taliban fighters who searched their homes were polite and did not inflict any damage. Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2022 Job seekers should have their antennas up to detect if the interviewers are self-aware, empathetic and polite. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 10 June 2022 At an appearance with Ophuls in 2009, Jean-Luc Godard, in an unusually polite mood, paid him high praise for The Sorrow and the Pity, which explores the German occupation of France through a portrait of one city, Clermont-Ferrand. Rachel Kushner, Harper’s Magazine , 25 May 2022 In a very polite exchange, Horton and Rachel spoke with two bank employees. Zayna Syed, The Arizona Republic, 20 May 2022 Congressman Cawthorn was very polite, very congenial, offered his support in absolutely any way to help me defeat [Democratic Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara]. Grayson Quay, The Week, 19 May 2022 And incursion sounds like an unnecessarily polite term to describe a multiversal war that Kang wanted to prevent in the first place. Chris Smith, BGR, 16 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'polite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of polite

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for polite

Middle English (Scots) polit, Latin politus, from past participle of polire

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Time Traveler for polite

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The first known use of polite was circa 1500

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Last Updated

29 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Polite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polite. Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for polite


po·​lite | \ pə-ˈlīt How to pronounce polite (audio) \
politer; politest

Kids Definition of polite

: showing courtesy or good manners

Other Words from polite

politely adverb
politeness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on polite

Nglish: Translation of polite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of polite for Arabic Speakers


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