Definition of polite in English:



  • 1Having or showing behaviour that is respectful and considerate of other people.

    ‘they thought she was wrong but were too polite to say so’
    • ‘You could hand around evaluation forms, but many people are too polite to tell you what they really thought.’
    • ‘It seemed only polite to say goodnight with a kiss, just between friends.’
    • ‘You could tell he didn't think much of my work, though he was far too polite to blurt it out.’
    • ‘If you are going into a bar or pub, with a woman is it more polite to let them go first, or to go first yourself to check that the place is safe?’
    • ‘Even if you think that someone is kind of weird, it is always polite to be nice to them.’
    • ‘Is it too much to ask if I just want someone normal, unperverted, and polite to talk to?’
    • ‘I think it's only polite to make the effort in the local language even if everyone does seem to speak English.’
    • ‘They also learn that sometimes it's polite to lie to spare the feelings of others.’
    • ‘It would have been polite to at least acknowledge it rather than tossing it aside like a dirty tissue.’
    • ‘It's certainly polite to ask, and you have my full permission, for whatever that's worth.’
    • ‘He was extremely polite to his opponents and often took up cudgels for them too.’
    • ‘You know we bend over backwards in work to be helpful and polite to people.’
    • ‘She's too polite to tell him to shut up and go away, so we put up with him.’
    • ‘When guests visit you, it is polite to welcome them with kind words and serve them what you have.’
    • ‘For instance, if you want your child to have good manners, make sure she sees you being polite to others.’
    • ‘In the UK, and most of Europe, it is not considered polite to just say what you want.’
    • ‘He heard a young comedian being interviewed on the radio the other day and is far too polite to name him.’
    • ‘Most of the kids were too polite to tell it to their parents, but it was evident in their behavior.’
    • ‘Looks of despair flashed across all of their faces, but to their credit they were too polite to outwardly groan.’
    • ‘I myself forgot about these issues and most people are too polite to mention them.’
    well mannered, civil, courteous, respectful, deferential, well behaved, well bred, gentlemanly, ladylike, chivalrous, gallant, genteel, cultivated, gracious, urbane, well brought up
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    1. 1.1attributive Relating to people who regard themselves as more cultured and refined than others.
      ‘the picture outraged polite society’
      • ‘But lay into others and you should prepare to be visited by the vengeance of polite society.’
      • ‘There are still some things that cannot be talked about in polite society.’
      • ‘In certain circles of polite society he is known as the Citra Fiend and cannot be trusted in matters of fruit.’
      • ‘In this world she expresses sides to her character that struggle for oxygen in polite society.’
      • ‘Yes, but in polite society, one does not hear of this.’
      • ‘It would be regarded as not the thing to do in polite company in, for instance, Pacific Rim countries.’
      • ‘That is the root problem, indeed the only problem, but it is not mentioned in polite society.’
      • ‘Over the years he built a pagoda to polite English society as it faded in the glare of post-war vulgarity.’
      • ‘It took my mum to point out that Botox is now fully integrated into polite society.’
      • ‘In short, he has made an asset from features others find a hindrance to acceptance in polite society.’
      • ‘The reaction of polite society to this extraordinary work was one of astonishment.’
      • ‘The musical life of polite European society was a different world altogether.’
      • ‘And the phrase ‘national interest’ should never be mentioned in polite society.’
      • ‘In the mind of a desperate prisoner you sometimes find genius that is seldom recognized in more polite society.’
      • ‘He may have been born into polite society but Degas was no gentleman painter.’
      civilized, refined, cultured, sophisticated, genteel, well bred, urbane, elegant, courtly
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Late Middle English (in the Latin sense): from Latin politus ‘polished, made smooth’, past participle of polire.