Word of the Day: Courtesy


cour-te-sy / kûr-tĭ-sē


1. performed out of politeness

As the heir to an earldom, Stephen was obliged to pay a courtesy call on the British ambassador, and the ambassador, in his turn, was expected to invite Stephen to parties and introduce him around.

From “The Man from St. Petersburg” by Ken Follett, 1949 –

2. provided without cost; free; complimentary

Those who attend events with courtesy tickets will buy refreshments and are more likely to purchase souvenirs, as well as take home details of other events which they will want to buy tickets for.

Cllr. Mick Pendergast, “Medway Council considering donating event tickets to military personnel”, www.kentonline.co.uk/medway/news/attention-for-councils-troops-ticket-proposal-197761, accessed June 1, 2023

noun (plural courtesies)

1. a polite manner; respectful behavior; civility

Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy.

 Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803 – 1882

2. a considerate or respectful act or remark

A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.

St. Basil, 330 – 379

3. common consent or agreement in spite of fact or right

I have always thought that in revolutions, especially democratic revolutions, madmen, not those so called by courtesy, but genuine madmen, have played a very considerable political part.

Alexis de Tocqueville, 1805 – 1859

4. generosity; willingness to provide

After a few potations, the waggish pair persuaded the exhilarated Frenchman that there was an inexcusable partiality in offering to one lady, and not extending a similar courtesy to another.

From “The Pioneers” by James Fenimore Cooper, 1789 – 1851

5. archaic spelling of curtsy, a gesture of respect, made by bending the knees and lowering the body, primarily made by women

She dropped him a courtesy, then took the glass of sherry that the steward brought and sipped it, meditative eyes on the blazing logs.

From “A Young Man in a Hurry” by Robert W. Chambers, 1865 – 1933