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[kur-tuh-see or for 5, kurt-see] /ˈkɜr tə si or for 5, ˈkɜrt si/
noun, plural courtesies.
excellence of manners or social conduct; polite behavior.
a courteous, respectful, or considerate act or expression.
indulgence, consent, or acquiescence:
a “colonel” by courtesy rather than by right.
favor, help, or generosity:
The costumes for the play were by courtesy of the local department store.
a curtsy.
done or performed as a matter of courtesy or protocol:
a courtesy call on the mayor.
offered or provided free by courtesy of the management:
While waiting to board the airplane, we were provided with courtesy coffee.
Origin of courtesy
1175-1225; Middle English curteisie < Anglo-French, Old French; see courteous, -y3
Related forms
overcourtesy, noun
uncourtesy, noun, plural uncourtesies.
1. courteousness, civility, urbanity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for courtesy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Notwithstanding, he greeted the new comer with courtesy, at the same time making him a sign that he wished to remain unknown.

    Akbar P. A. S. van Limburg-Brouwer
  • He received us with courtesy and invited us to enter and see the fort.

    The Story of the Malakand Field Force Sir Winston S. Churchill
  • Mr. Vernon rose to open the door for her—Nell noticed the act of courtesy—then sank down again.

    Nell, of Shorne Mills Charles Garvice
  • The dwellers in the long-house extended every courtesy to Ninaka and his crew.

    The Monster Men Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • courtesy requires a dinner invitation to be answered at once, certainly within twelve hours, but better in less time.

    The Century Cook Book Mary Ronald
British Dictionary definitions for courtesy


noun (pl) -sies
politeness; good manners
a courteous gesture or remark
favour or consent (esp in the phrase by courtesy of)
common consent as opposed to right (esp in the phrase by courtesy) See also courtesy title
(ˈkɜːtsɪ) an archaic spelling of curtsy
Word Origin
C13 curteisie, from Old French, from corteiscourteous
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 courtesy

early 13c., curteisie, from Old French curteisie (Modern French courtoisie), from curteis "courteous" (see courteous). A specialized sense of curteisie is the source of English curtsy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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