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 The seven former strangers from the original cast of The Real World are about to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real... Breanne L. Heldman, PEOPLE.com, "The Real World Homecoming: New York Trailer Teases Loads of Tears and Someone Walking Out," 26 Feb. 2021 Acknowledging this by seeking better language is a basic effort to be polite, not prissy. Ian Durham, Scientific American, "Physicists Need to Be More Careful with How They Name Things," 20 Feb. 2021 But more than that, Harrison realized that the anxiety of performing online in 2020 was more deeply-rooted than just having to endure delivering jokes to a silent crowd—or worse, to a solitary livestream host forcing polite laughter. Nojan Aminosharei, Harper's BAZAAR, "No One Does It Like Patti Harrison," 31 Dec. 2020 The waiters, ever polite, always answered Brando in perfect English. Richard A. Marini, ExpressNews.com, "Fond memories and frog legs: New book recalls life at the Cadillac Bar in Nuevo Laredo," 30 Dec. 2020 If Katrina were polite and deferential, tiptoeing around her ignorance of trans people for fear of making a mistake, the conversation would likely lead nowhere. Crispin Long, The New Yorker, "The Insider Insights of “Detransition, Baby”," 31 Jan. 2021 Meanwhile, Bigfoot believers also aren’t happy (although Humphrey reportedly says the believers have generally been more polite). Michael Hollan, Fox News, "Oklahoma Rep. faces backlash for Bigfoot 'hunting season,' says he's been called an idiot," 25 Jan. 2021 The Red Sox CEO/president is ever-polite and a true professional. Dan Shaughnessy, BostonGlobe.com, "Recalling Hank Aaron’s only Fenway Park home run, and other thoughts," 22 Jan. 2021 Tokenism rooted in colourism is a more polite, but still dangerous, way of protecting hierarchy. Brea Baker, refinery29.com, "It’s Time To Talk About Kamala Harris, Colourism & Who Gets To Be First," 18 Jan. 2021

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

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Polite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polite. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

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

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

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!