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[puh-lahyt] /pəˈlaɪt/
adjective, politer, politest.
showing good manners toward others, as in behavior, speech, etc.; courteous; civil:
a polite reply.
refined or cultured:
polite society.
of a refined or elegant kind:
polite learning.
Origin of polite
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin polītus, past participle of polīre to polish
Related forms
politely, adverb
politeness, noun
superpolite, adjective
superpolitely, adverb
superpoliteness, noun
1. well-bred, gracious. See civil. 2. urbane, polished, poised, courtly, cultivated.
1, 2. rude. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for polite
  • They leave some personal space even as a crowd approaches the stage, which makes it easier for people on the move to be polite.
  • In our teaching-centered culture, it isn't really polite to brag about one's publications.
  • In polite society, flatulence is often a social faux pas-especially when issued deliberately.
  • Eye contact is a key element of polite conversation.
  • The rest of the staff stood in awe and kept a polite distance.
  • Good manners are basically how polite you are to your environment and friends.
  • But if you're asked to check your bag early in the boarding process, you might consider a bit of polite resistance.
  • At no point does the chairman appear in the video, or appear to do anything except be polite about receiving an unsolicited gift.
  • All you have to do is be honest, polite and gracious.
  • That's a polite way of saying that politicians are notorious for their selective use of statistics.
British Dictionary definitions for polite


showing regard for others, in manners, speech, behaviour, etc; courteous
cultivated or refined: polite society
elegant or polished: polite letters
Derived Forms
politely, adverb
politeness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin polītus polished; see polish
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 polite

late 14c., "polished, burnished" (mid-13c. as a surname), from Latin politus "refined, elegant, accomplished," literally "polished," past participle of polire "to polish, to make smooth" (see polish (v.)). Used literally at first in English; sense of "elegant, cultured" is first recorded c.1500, that of "behaving courteously" is 1748 (implied in politely). Related: Politeness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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