polite, courteous

polite, courteous
A polite person shows good manners toward others in his speech and actions; he is well bred and gracious. A polite individual avoids being rude as a result of training and because he is aware of the demands and requirements of civil manners. A courteous person is not only polite; he makes an active effort to be kindly, graceful, dignified, and poised. In most instances, the two words are interchangeable, but courteous is a stronger word than polite and suggests a fundamental attitude toward others, whereas polite relates to surface manners only: It is polite to say "Good morning" to someone; it is courteous to treat others with respect and kindness.

Dictionary of problem words and expressions. . 1975.

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  • courteous — See polite. See polite, courteous …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • polite — See polite, courteous …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • Polite — Po*lite , a. [Compar. {Politer}; superl. {Politest}.] [L. politus, p. p. of polire to polish: cf. F. poli. See {Polish}, v.] 1. Smooth; polished. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Rays of light falling on a polite surface. Sir I. Newton. [1913 Webster] 2.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Courteous — Cour te*ous (k?r t? ?s; 277), a. [OE. cortais, corteis, cortois, rarely corteous, OF. corties, corteis, F. courtois. See {Court}.] Of courtlike manners; pertaining to, or expressive of, courtesy; characterized by courtesy; civil; obliging; well… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • polite — [pə līt′] adj. [L politus, pp. of polire, to POLISH] 1. having or showing culture or good taste; polished; cultured; refined [polite society, polite letters] 2. having or showing good manners; esp., courteous, considerate, tactful, etc. SYN.… …   English World dictionary

  • polite — ► ADJECTIVE (politer, politest) 1) courteous and well mannered. 2) cultured and refined: polite society. DERIVATIVES politely adverb politeness noun. ORIGIN Latin politus polished, made smooth , from polire …   English terms dictionary

  • courteous — index civil (polite), obeisant Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • courteous — polite, *civil, courtly, gallant, chivalrous Analogous words: *gracious, affable, cordial: *suave, urbane, politic, diplomatic: considerate, *thoughtful, attentive: obliging, complaisant (see AMIABLE) Antonyms: discourteous Contrasted words: * …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • courteous — [adj] gentle, mannerly affable, attentive, ceremonious, civil, civilized, complaisant, considerate, courtly, cultivated, debonair, elegant, gallant, genteel, gracious, polished, polite, refined, respectful, soft spoken, suave, thoughtful, urbane …   New thesaurus

  • courteous — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ polite, respectful, and considerate. DERIVATIVES courteously adverb courteousness noun. ORIGIN Old French corteis having manners fit for a royal court …   English terms dictionary