co·​mi·​ty | \ ˈkä-mə-tē How to pronounce comity (audio) , ˈkō- How to pronounce comity (audio) \
plural comities

Definition of comity

1a : friendly social atmosphere : social harmony group activities promoting comity bipartisan comity in the Senate
b : a loose widespread community based on common social institutions the comity of civilization
c : comity of nations trans-Atlantic comity
d : the informal and voluntary recognition by courts of one jurisdiction of the laws and judicial decisions of another
2 : avoidance of proselytizing members of another religious denomination

Synonyms & Antonyms for comity



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"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 an early documented appearance of comity—a word derived from Latin cōmitās, meaning "friendliness, courtesy, or graciousness." Comity is largely used in political and judicial contexts. Since 1804, 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.

Examples of comity in a Sentence

the comity that has always existed among the town's houses of worship
Recent Examples on the Web In an era when bipartisan comity is rare on Capitol Hill, agreement between the two sides is a very big deal. Kris Brown, CNN, 14 June 2022 The biggest danger from Rogozin’s latest threat is not to the station itself, but to the international comity that has kept the giant outpost flying for the past 24 years. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 6 May 2022 The Congressional Baseball Game has long been trumpeted as an annual ritual of bipartisan comity. Hau Chu, Washington Post, 6 July 2022 The moment of comity with teachers didn’t last, though. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, 20 June 2022 Most participants in the 5G process say comity and cooperation has increased among all parties. Peter Elkind, ProPublica, 26 May 2022 Right now, just when people could use emblems of patience, grit, calm and comity, the culture has endured a steady stream of loss that adds to the sense that everything is crumbling to bits. Washington Post, 29 Dec. 2021 Right, forget all those niceties about decorum and comity and Robert’s Rules of Order. Clarence Page,, 14 May 2021 Sometimes the maintenance of civic comity requires a touch of restraint. Damon Linker, The Week, 13 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'comity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of comity

1543, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for comity

borrowed from Latin cōmitāt-, cōmitās "friendliness, courtesy, graciousness," from cōmis "kind, obliging, gracious" (probably going back to Old Latin cosmis, of uncertain origin) + -itāt- -itās -ity

Note: The Latin word cōmis (Old Latin cosmis, assuming that this word in the Duenos Inscription has been correctly identified) has traditionally been analyzed as *co-smei̯- "draw one's face into a smile," with the Indo-European base *smei̯- "laugh, smile" (see smile entry 1)—though a derivational mechanism for turning such a verbal compound into an unsuffixed adjective is left unspecified. An alternative explanation as a denominal adjective "having/accompanied by a smile" is possible (of the compound type represented by Greek éntheos "full of/possessed by a deity"), though there is no Indo-European evidence for a corresponding noun *smi- "smile."

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Dictionary Entries Near comity



comity of nations

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Last Updated

9 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Comity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for comity


co·​mi·​ty | \ ˈkä-mə-tē, ˈkō- How to pronounce comity (audio) \

Legal Definition of comity

2 : the informal and voluntary recognition by courts of one jurisdiction of the laws and judicial decisions of another

called also judicial comity

— compare choice of law, federalism, full faith and credit

More from Merriam-Webster on comity

Britannica English: Translation of comity for Arabic Speakers


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