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From Middle English curteisie, curtesie, from Anglo-Norman curtesie, from Old French curteisie, cortoisie.[1][2] Equivalent to courteous +‎ -y (abstract noun suffix).



courtesy (countable and uncountable, plural courtesies)

  1. (uncountable) Polite behavior.
    Please extend them the courtesy of your presence.
    He was always known for his grace, kindness, and courtesy to people of every rank.
  2. (countable) A polite gesture or remark, especially as opposed to an obligation or standard practice.
    I offered them a ride simply as a courtesy.
  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.
    [on a label, caption, etc.] Courtesy the Smith Foundation: [e.g.] use of this image was allowed through the courtesy of the Smith Foundation.
  5. A curtsey.
  6. (law) The life interest that the surviving husband has in the real or heritable estate of his wife.

Derived terms[edit]



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

  1. Alternative form of curtsey


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. Supplied free of charge.
    Synonyms: complimentary, free of charge, gratis
    The event planners offered courtesy tickets for the reporters.