Definition of curtsy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkəːtsi/
(also curtsey)

noun (plural curtsies or curtseys)

A woman’s or girl’s formal greeting made by bending the knees with one foot in front of the other: she bobbed a curtsy to him
More example sentences
  • Leave us, Monique,’ she waved her hand at the maid, who bobbed a curtsy and hurried out.
  • A little maid rushed to the door and bobbed a curtsy.
  • I could hear the rustle of the maid's woolen skirts as she bobbed a curtsy.

verb (curtsies, curtsying, curtsied or curtseys, curtseying, curtseyed)

[no object]
Perform a curtsy: his sisters had curtsied to the vicar
More example sentences
  • Jocelyn, looking quite small on the large stage, curtsied and blushed though she was used to all the attention by now.
  • And then, within a matter of months, people were bowing to her, people were curtsying to her, people were looking at everything she wore, analyzing everything.
  • When the case began, the court clerk may not have gone as far as curtsying, but she still addressed her Royal highness as ‘Ma'am’.


Early 16th century: variant of courtesy. Both forms were used to denote the expression of respect or courtesy by a gesture, especially in phrases such as do courtesy, make courtesy, and from this arose the current use (late 16th century).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: curtsy

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