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From Middle English curtesie, from Anglo-Norman curtesie, from Old French curteisie, cortoisie. [1][2]



courtesy ‎(countable and uncountable, plural courtesies)

  1. (uncountable) Polite behavior.
    Please extend them the courtesy of your presence.
  2. (countable) A polite gesture or remark.
    I offered them a ride simply as a courtesy.
    • Shakespeare
      My lord, for your many courtesies I thank you.
  3. (uncountable) Consent or agreement in spite of fact; indulgence.
    They call this pond a lake by courtesy only.
  4. (uncountable) Willingness or generosity in providing something needed.
    They received free advertising through the courtesy of the local newspaper.
  5. A curtsey.
    • Goldsmith
      The lady drops a courtesy in token of obedience, and the ceremony proceeds as usual.

Derived terms[edit]


Derived terms[edit]


courtesy ‎(third-person singular simple present courtesies, present participle courtesying, simple past and past participle courtesied)

  1. Alternative form of curtsey
    • Samuel Richardson
      Well, but Polly attended, as I said; and there were strange simperings, and bowing, and courtesying, between them; the honest gentleman seeming not to know how to let his mistress wait upon him []


courtesy ‎(not comparable) (used only before the noun)

  1. Given or done as a polite gesture.
    We paid a courtesy visit to the new neighbors.
  2. Free of charge.
    The event planners offered courtesy tickets for the reporters.




  1. ^ The concise dictionary of English etymology, p. 97
  2. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary