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[pol-i-tes; French paw-lee-tes] /ˌpɒl ɪˈtɛs; French pɔ liˈtɛs/
formal politeness; courtesy.
Origin of politesse
1710-20; < French: orig. clean or polished state < Italian politezza, variant of pulitezza (derivative of polito polite) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for politesse
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was much ceremony when they departed—much French politesse, and many charming little attentions were paid.

    Sally Bishop E. Temple Thurston
  • Your papa hath told me so with a politesse not often seen on this side Paris.

    Joseph Andrews Vol. 1 Henry Fielding
  • How different does his Lordship appear to me—to me he is all politesse.

    Such Things Are Mrs. Inchbald
  • In the last century the Italians were first in doctrine and politesse.

  • Positively you shall go with me as was agreed, and don't let me have any of your politesse to H. on the occasion.

  • "So then this was a piece of 'politesse,' for which I am indebted to your friend Terry's own devising," said Fred, half angrily.

    The O'Donoghue Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for politesse


formal or genteel politeness
Word Origin
C18: via French from Italian politezza, ultimately from Latin polīre to 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 politesse

"civility," 1717, from French politesse (17c.), from Italian politezza, properly "the quality of being polite," from polito "polite," from Latin politus (see polite).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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