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See also: Politesse



From French politesse, from Italian politezza, from polito, past participle of pulire (to clean), from Latin polire, present active infinite form of poliō (I polish).



politesse (countable and uncountable, plural politesses)

  1. Civility, politeness, courtesy or gallantry; or an instance of this.
    • 1968, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger (lyrics and music), “Sympathy for the Devil”, in Beggars Banquet, performed by Rolling Stones:
      So if you meet me, have some courtesy / Have some sympathy, and some taste / Use all your well-learned politesse / Or I'll lay your soul to waste
    • 1978, Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea, Vintage, published 1999, pages 56–57:
      The reference in his letter to ‘having a drink’ is of course just an empty politesse.
    • 2011, Thomas Penn, Winter King, Penguin, published 2012, page 7:
      The soft politesse concealed a sharp observer, a gleaner of information, cool under pressure and used to having to think several steps ahead []




Borrowed from Italian politezza.


  • IPA(key): /pɔ.li.tɛs/
  • Rhymes: -ɛs
  • (file)


politesse f (countable and uncountable, plural politesses)

  1. (uncountable) politeness, courtesy
    Antonym: impolitesse
    Near-synonym: courtoisie
    une formule de politesse(please add an English translation of this usage example)
    par politesseout of courtesy, out of politeness, for politeness' sake
  2. (countable) polite remark or action
    Near-synonyms: courtoisie, gentillesse

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • English: politesse

Further reading[edit]