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[kur-tee-uh s] /ˈkɜr ti əs/
having or showing good manners; polite.
Origin of courteous
1225-75; court + -eous; replacing Middle English co(u)rteis < Anglo-French; see court, -ese
Related forms
courteously, adverb
courteousness, noun
overcourteous, adjective
overcourteously, adverb
overcourteousness, noun
pseudocourteous, adjective
pseudocourteously, adverb
quasi-courteous, adjective
quasi-courteously, adverb
mannerly, gracious, courtly. See civil. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for courteously
Historical Examples
  • A very proper arrangement, sir, and one that does you infinite credit, returned the other courteously.

  • He approached them, and courteously inquired the way to the nearest town.

    Maid Marian Thomas Love Peacock
  • The woman would have led again, but young Hallam cut in, none too courteously.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • "I never suggested that for a moment," said Philip courteously.

  • Then, advancing with a wan smile, he courteously greeted the callers.

    Carmen Ariza Charles Francis Stocking
  • I doffed my hat in a grave salutation, which was courteously returned.

    The Suitors of Yvonne Raphael Sabatini
  • "Then I suppose you will not care to detain us any longer," Mr. Bryant courteously remarked.

    The Masked Bridal Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
  • He received me courteously, and at once opened the business for which we met.

    Sir Jasper Carew Charles James Lever
  • The Dutch inhabitants were engaged in courteously escorting those of British birth or sympathies over the border, and I was alone.

    With Steyn and De Wet Philip Pienaar
  • She conducted me courteously to a seat, and only took her own after I was seated.

    A Day's Ride Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for courteously


polite and considerate in manner
Derived Forms
courteously, adverb
courteousness, noun
Word Origin
C13 corteis, literally: with courtly manners, from Old French; see court
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for courteously



mid-14c., earlier curteis (c.1300), from Old French curteis (Modern French courtois) "having courtly bearing or manners," from curt "court" (see court (n.)) + -eis, from Latin -ensis.

Rare before c.1500. In feudal society, also denoting a man of good education (hence the name Curtis). Medieval courts were associated with good behavior and also beauty; e.g. German hübsch "beautiful," from Middle High German hübesch "beautiful," originally "courteous, well-bred," from Old Franconian hofesch, from hof "court." Related: Courteously (mid-14c., kurteis-liche).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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