Definition of courtesy noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈkɜːtəsi//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkɜːrtəsi//
    (pl. courtesies)
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  1. 1[uncountable] polite behaviour that shows respect for other people synonym politeness I was treated with the utmost courtesy by the staff. We asked them, as a matter of courtesy, if we could photograph their house. It's only common courtesy to tell the neighbours that we'll be having a party (= the sort of behaviour that people would expect).
  2. 2[countable, usually plural] (formal) a polite thing that you say or do when you meet people in formal situations an exchange of courtesies before the meeting
  3. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French cortesie, from corteis, based on Latin cohors ‘yard, retinue’.Extra examples He listened to all the complaints with great courtesy. It’s a matter of courtesy to write and thank people after a party. It’s common courtesy to give up your seat for elderly people. It’s common courtesy to warn your neighbours if your children are going to have a party. She contacts clients regularly as a professional courtesy. She might have done me the courtesy of replying to my letter. You could at least have had the courtesy to let me know. her unfailing courtesy to everyone He bowed his head with exaggerated courtesy. It’s only common courtesy to tell the neighbours that we’ll be having a party. The prime minister was welcomed with the usual courtesies. We asked them as a matter of courtesy.Idioms
      courtesy of somebody/something
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    1. 1(also by courtesy of somebody/something) with the official permission of somebody/something and as a favour The pictures have been reproduced by courtesy of the British Museum.
    2. 2given as a prize or provided free by a person or an organization Win a weekend in Rome, courtesy of Fiat.
    3. 3as the result of a particular thing or situation Viewers can see the stadium from the air, courtesy of a camera fastened to the plane.
    do somebody the courtesy of doing something
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    to be polite by doing the thing that is mentioned Please do me the courtesy of listening to what I'm saying.
    have the courtesy to do something
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    to know when you should do something in order to be polite You think he'd at least have the courtesy to call to say he'd be late.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: courtesy