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 Stylistically, its fans cleave closely to the blingy excesses of American hip-hop and its energetic, provocative dance moves outrage the polite sections of society. 1843, "Dance or die: fighting for the legacy of Bogle, the “Godfather of dancehall”," 16 Jan. 2020 In the previous restaurant example, the first suggestion would likely be seen as polite and female, while the latter assertion would typically be seen as male. Sharone Horowit-hendler, Wired, "Conversational AI Can Propel Social Stereotypes," 14 Jan. 2020 Because Canadians are so polite and nice to each other. Dalton Ross, EW.com, "Tom Laidlaw says Karishma was not bullied on Survivor," 24 Oct. 2019 But Bluetooth's new features stand to benefit more than just polite ravers and people who enjoy wearing headphones in crowded sports bars. Boone Ashworth, Wired, "The New Version of Bluetooth Is Here to Fix Your Headphones," 6 Jan. 2020 The bartender slips the cash in his pocket with a polite nod. Andy Nesbitt, For The Win, "This would be the perfect way for Jason Garrett and the Cowboys to lose on Sunday," 20 Dec. 2019 Those words in the hospital room landed with a polite thud. K.n.c., The Economist, "How to fight rare diseases with radically open innovation," 27 Nov. 2019 All of the other candidates kept it polite during the approximately 90-minute forum. BostonGlobe.com, "Seeking first win, Garrison makes City Council race about Wu - The Boston Globe," 11 Oct. 2019 All five of the students were very poised and seemed to enjoy the opportunity to perform for their peers; the student body was polite, attentive and appreciative. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, "ORMACO sponsors songwriting program for students at Medina’s Garfield Elementary School," 20 Dec. 2019

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

Time Traveler for polite

Time Traveler

The first known use of polite was circa 1500

See more words from the same year

Statistics for polite

Last Updated

28 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Polite.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/politeness. Accessed 28 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for polite

polite

adjective
How to pronounce polite (audio)

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

showing steady, earnest care and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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!