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

Leave it to John Hickenlooper and Bernie Sanders to produce the most polite Twitter spat of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. The Denver Post, "Presidential hopefuls John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders trade barbs over Twitter — sort of," 13 June 2019 The people in line were polite in their impatience. Sally Schwartz Higginson, Lake County News-Sun, "Column: A desperate and routine search for a temporarily lost credit card," 12 June 2019 But the tone of conversation has always been polite to the point of patronizing: One states his view, and then shuts his mouth and pays attention. Sahil Handa, National Review, "Reclaiming Britishness from the Brexit Debacle," 10 June 2019 Especially since the action returns to Toronto, where the polite home fans don’t cheer plucky opponents. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors squander Willis Reed moment for Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney," 7 June 2019 To say my eyebrows have always been lush would be polite. Glamour, "I Went to Meghan Markle's Favorite Brow Place and Learned So Many Secrets," 10 May 2019 Well-mannered and polite are how most people would describe Dominic, 13. The Star, kansascity, "Well-mannered and polite, Dominic also likes clowning around," 16 June 2018 The players in the draft go to great lengths to be non-committal and broadly polite. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Breakaway: Inside the Life of Future Lottery Pick Mikal Bridges," 15 June 2018 Neighbors and sources close to the case recalled her recently as a polite if eccentric woman who kept to herself and had a knack for sculpting and painting, often making gifts of her artwork for friends. Vinny Vella, Philly.com, "Upper Bucks murderer, questioned in father's unsolved disappearance, dies in prison," 5 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

17 Jun 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

standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!