polite

adjective
po·​lite | \pə-ˈlīt \
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 crowd responded at the mention of 2005, initially offering polite applause. Howard Fendrich, Houston Chronicle, "This one goes to 11: Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem for French Open title," 11 June 2018 Canadian Harvards: This four-member team performs aerobatics in WWII-vintage planes built in 1941 and are very polite about it. Jeffrey Lee Puckett, The Courier-Journal, "Here's what you'll see high in the sky during the Thunder Over Louisville 2018 air show," 18 Apr. 2018 Pawlenty told the crowd, looking out of touch but getting a polite applause. Newsweek, "Analysis," 14 Mar. 2018 Many less polite words are also being thrown around. The Economist, "Theresa May adds a botched reshuffle to her growing list of botches," 13 Jan. 2018 The heart of the movie, directed by Paul King, is once again the title character (voiced by Ben Whishaw): an exceedingly polite but flamboyantly clumsy talking bear from Peru who now lives full time in London with the Brown family. Stephanie Merry, kansascity, "Colorful, cuddly ‘Paddington 2’ is utterly charming," 11 Jan. 2018 For the most part, the fans and tourists have been polite and cordial, said Tatiana, a city worker taking a break in the shade to have a cigarette. Sabra Ayres, latimes.com, "Roll over, Lenin: Red Square is transformed by the World Cup," 26 June 2018 Being polite and respectful will bring better service than being hostile or rude. Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY, "Summer flying guide: How to cope with record crowds," 26 June 2018 The Senate’s only immigrant and first-ever Asian-American woman, Mazie Hirono—a Democrat from Hawaii—is often assumed to have politics as polite and staid as her soft-spoken style. Erika Fry, Fortune, "Big Pharma's Leading Lady, Republicans' #MeToo Moment, and A Women-Majority Cabinet in Spain: Broadsheet for June 8," 8 June 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

2 Dec 2018

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 \
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

to enclose within walls

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!