cour·​te·​ous | \ ˈkər-tē-əs How to pronounce courteous (audio) , British also ˈkȯ- \

Definition of courteous

1 : marked by polished manners, gallantry, or ceremonial usage of a court
2 : marked by respect for and consideration of others

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Other Words from courteous

courteously adverb
courteousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for courteous

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 courteous in a Sentence

There was no doubt that his stubbornly held and trenchantly expressed views—his trenchancy always tempered, however, by his gently courteous manner—contributed significantly to his unpopularity … — Simon Winchester, The Man Who Loved China, 2008 … she has seen generations of boys come and go, some well groomed and courteous, others rough and uppity … — Julian Barnes, New Yorker, 5 Mar. 1990 He joined us in the Yellow Room with … his son, a thoughtful, courteous, nice doctor … — Lady Bird Johnson 27 May 1964, in A White House Diary1970 The clerks were helpful and courteous. their customer service department always gives courteous responses, even to rude people
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Recent Examples on the Web Proof of vaccination is mandatory in most places, and masks are required indoors, but everyone is courteous and no one seems to mind. Roxana Robinson, The New Yorker, 11 Oct. 2021 The Northcoast Ohio Mushroom and Foraging group, whose affirmative mission statement, Please be kind and courteous. Beth Segal, cleveland, 1 Oct. 2021 And there are plenty of ways to pick up after your dog, in hopes of being a courteous neighbor or to just best maintain your own home. Andrea Marie,, 23 July 2021 Be courteous: Not sure if someone in a group is Jewish? Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 Sep. 2021 Imagine if Issa Rae or Mindy Kaling had pitched a show about a nice lady who teaches lost souls how to be better people by simply being polite and courteous to them. Lorraine Ali Television Critic, Los Angeles Times, 20 Aug. 2021 Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi’s state health officer, is an epidemiologist and infectious-disease specialist in his early fifties, with boyishly wavy hair and a courteous but direct manner. Paige Williams, The New Yorker, 17 Aug. 2021 The hijackers were calm, polite, even courteous, according to May. USA Today, 29 July 2021 Letersky offers less a historical breakthrough than finer brushstrokes on an American icon, whom the author describes as kind, courteous, formal, thoughtful, fearless, occasionally funny, a perfect gentleman and a devout patriot. Jeff Rowe, Star Tribune, 12 July 2021

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

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First Known Use of courteous

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for courteous

Middle English corteis, from Anglo-French curteis, from curt

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Time Traveler for courteous

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

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Last Updated

24 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Courteous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for courteous



English Language Learners Definition of courteous

: very polite in a way that shows respect


cour·​te·​ous | \ ˈkər-tē-əs How to pronounce courteous (audio) \

Kids Definition of courteous

: showing respect and consideration for others : polite

Other Words from courteous

courteously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on courteous

Nglish: Translation of courteous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of courteous for Arabic Speakers


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