polite

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Mahoney appeared surprised by the visit and was polite but didn't appear interested in resuming contact, Madden said. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, "Drunk driver silent about Carrollton bus crash despite survivors' pleas," 13 May 2018 The Bay Area police officers who’d woken Aghdam up in a Walmart parking lot on April 3 were polite, but curious. Teri Figueroa, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Police release body cam video of YouTube shooter hours before attack," 13 Apr. 2018 My general philosophy of doing interviews is polite but persistent. Daniel D'addario, Time, "'Not Everyone's Going to Love You.' Lester Holt on Scoops, Debates and Viewers’ Trust," 12 Apr. 2018 Children will learn that the Peep is noticing their good behavior, from practicing polite manners to helping with chores. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'Peep on a Perch' Is the New 'Elf on a Shelf'," 8 Mar. 2019 What's the most polite way to avoid a host's terrible cooking? Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Dinner Parties are Awkward. Amy Sedaris is Here to Help You Survive Them.," 19 Feb. 2019 After months of polite deferrals, Sundar Pichai finally went before Congress on Tuesday, and over the course of three and a half hours, said as little as possible. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How Congress missed another chance to hold big tech accountable," 12 Dec. 2018 Here, Abby Green, children’s etiquette instructor at Southern Grace in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, shares her tips and tricks for teaching even your littlest ones how to make polite introductions. Betsy Cribb, Southern Living, "The Proper Way to Teach Kids to Introduce Themselves, According to an Etiquette Expert," 10 July 2018 Press play on the Amazon original, and polite classical music draws the audience into a regal sitting room with red walls and a red rug. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "What's the Story With The Romanoffs Controversial Opening Credits?," 27 Oct. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about polite

Dictionary Entries near polite

polit

politarch

politburo

polite

politeful

politeia

Polites

Statistics for polite

Last Updated

22 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for polite

The first known use of polite was circa 1500

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for polite

polite

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of polite

: having or showing good manners or respect for other people
: socially correct or proper

polite

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on polite

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for polite

Spanish Central: Translation of polite

Nglish: Translation of polite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of polite for Arabic Speakers

Comments on polite

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

WORD OF THE DAY

one that collects or salvages junk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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!