Synonyms & Antonyms of courteous

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About courteous

How does the adjective courteous contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of courteous are chivalrous, civil, gallant, and polite. While all these words mean "observant of the forms required by good breeding," courteous implies more actively considerate or dignified politeness.

clerks who were unfailingly courteous to customers

When can chivalrous be used instead of courteous?

While in some cases nearly identical to courteous, chivalrous suggests high-minded and self-sacrificing behavior.

a chivalrous display of duty

Where would civil be a reasonable alternative to courteous?

The words civil and courteous are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, civil often suggests little more than the avoidance of overt rudeness.

owed the questioner a civil reply

How are the words gallant and chivalrous related as synonyms of courteous?

Both 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

When could polite be used to replace courteous?

The meanings of polite and courteous largely overlap; however, 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

Learn More About courteous

Time Traveler for courteous

Time Traveler

The first known use of courteous was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Thesaurus Entries Near courteous




See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry

“Courteous.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on courteous

Nglish: Translation of courteous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of courteous for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!