Word of the Day : December 11, 2010


noun KAH-muh-tee


: friendly civility : courtesy

Did You Know?

"Our country soweth also in the field of our breasts many precious seeds, as … honest behavior, affability, comity," wrote English clergyman Thomas Becon in 1543. Becon's use is the earliest documented appearance of "comity" -- a word derived from Latin "comitas," meaning "courteousness" (and probably related to the Sanskrit word for "he smiles"). "Comity" is largely used in political and judicial contexts. Since 1862 "comity of nations" has referred to countries bound by a courteous relationship based on mutual recognition of executive, legislative, and judicial acts. And, in legal contexts, "comity" refers to the recognition by courts of one jurisdiction of the laws and judicial decisions of another.


In the interests of neighborhood comity, everyone agreed to a block-wide tag sale.

"Two years after an election that seemed to portend a new era of comity, American politics has resumed what now appears to be its permanent condition of polarization, quite possibly worsened by widening rifts within the two major parties." -- From an essay by Sam Tanenhaus in The New York Times, October 24, 2010

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "tu quoque," our featured word from November 24, 2010? The answer is ...


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