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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 courteousness
Historical Examples
  • Any man of courteousness alone must have loved her, but would not have dared to own his passion.

  • The courteousness of the greeting did more than to put Joseph at his ease, as the saying is.

    The Brook Kerith George Moore
  • And now they treated him with that courteousness of manner which success in life always begets.

    Phineas Finn Anthony Trollope
  • It wont harm them to hint that in sympathy and courteousness they had better not present too sharp a contrast to "my doctor."

    Ginger-Snaps Fanny Fern
  • An angry person is generally impolite; and where contention and ill-will are, there can be no courteousness.

  • Personally he possesses charming, agreeable manners and Chesterfieldan courteousness, which vastly contributes to his popularity.

    The Merry-Go-Round Carl Van Vechten
  • courteousness is peculiarly suited to their age and sex, and particularly expected of them.

  • Nevertheless, I had risen to make this answer, the ill grace of which I strove to attenuate by the courteousness of my attitude.

    Led Astray and The Sphinx Octave Feuillet
  • So you carry out the different laws of courteousness, of helpfulness, and friendliness to others that come in the Guide Law.

  • His command of temper, and courteousness under provocation, united to form a rare man, and to give him influence.

British Dictionary definitions for courteousness


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 courteousness



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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