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courteous Line breaks: cour|te¦ous
Pronunciation: /ˈkəːtɪəs/

Definition of courteous in English:


Polite, respectful, or considerate in manner: she was courteous and obliging to all a courteous young man
More example sentences
  • But you can at least be polite, courteous and respect the fact that your views are very different to theirs.
  • Andrew was a very gentle, courteous man with huge respect for everyone he worked with.
  • They were respectful and courteous and asked my father's permission to speak to him alone.
cultivated, gracious, obliging, kind, considerate, pleasant, cordial, genial, affable, thoughtful, urbane, well brought up, well spoken;
formal, proper, polished, refined, decorous, courtly, civilized, tactful, discreet, diplomatic
British informal decent
dated mannerly


Example sentences
  • Remember always that your obligation is to encourage students to behave civilly and courteously.
  • All visitors were treated courteously by the polite volunteers, and tea and meals were served to one and all.
  • The sole woman inside washing hands at the sink politely and courteously showed me out.
Example sentences
  • I enjoyed their hospitality, and Arab courteousness, and learnt a respect for Muslim culture and Islam.
  • But that day, despite her bleak mood, her courteousness was unfailing.
  • Here is a a more leisured pace of life and courteousness that are only a memory in the frantic bustle of Kuala Lumpur.


Middle English (meaning 'having manners fit for a royal court'): from Old French corteis, based on Latin cohors 'yard, retinue' (see court). The change in the ending in the 16th century was due to association with words ending in -eous.

  • Medieval courts were associated with good manners, hence the early meaning of courteous, ‘having manners fit for a royal court’. It derived from Old French corteis, based on cort ‘court’. Courtesy (Middle English), ‘the showing of politeness towards others’, is from the same root, and got shortened to produce curtsey (early 16th century). Court itself is from the same period and goes back to Latin cohors which had, as the English word has, the senses of both ‘courtyard’ and ‘retinue’, and is the source of the word cohort (Late Middle English) originally a tenth of a Roman legion.

Words that rhyme with courteous

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