Definition of couth in US English:



  • Cultured, refined, and well mannered.

    ‘it is more couth to hold your shrimp by the tail’
    • ‘What would be your couth response to my inconsiderate neighbors?’
    • ‘All perfectly couth and prosperous, not a blade of grass out of place, but unbelievably boring.’
    • ‘We can say someone is unkempt, unruly, disconsolate or uncouth, but we can't normally say that he is kempt, ruly, consolate or couth unless we are exploiting the unfamiliar word for humorous effect.’
    • ‘But its chaste beauty and eccentric humor, with its touch of Dada, its move towards abstraction, and its cool, couth understanding of dance as state of mind, was strangely at one with his century.’
    • ‘Men are also a lot less couth than women in public.’
    • ‘Left alone, she is exposed to assorted rather too colorful locals: hulks and half-wits, telephone romancers and spurious cops, none of them couth.’
    • ‘Frankly, I hope that the female contestants are a bit more couth about their competitiveness than we were, Matt.’
    courteous, polite, civil, chivalrous, well mannered, decorous, gentlemanly, ladylike, civilized, tactful, diplomatic
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  • Good manners; refinement.

    ‘their hockey team had more talent but less couth’
    • ‘You have more couth, more tolerance and more intelligence.’
    • ‘There was no way that he should be allowed to speak for this country because he has no couth, no brains and doesn't know the meaning of the word diplomacy.’
    • ‘‘Good morning, Sir,’ she replied with her usual couth that had been bestowed upon her since a very young, impressionable age.’
    • ‘It shows whose mouth is without couth and perspective.’
    • ‘Voters who are either female or old or both overwhelmingly feel that the lad lacks couth.’
    • ‘Jasmine had no couth around her brother's friends and did not mind mentioning the gynecologist in front of them.’
    • ‘She accepted the cup gratefully and without a hint of couth she gulped down the sparkling liquid as if it was water from the Fountain of Youth and she was on her deathbed.’


Late 19th century: back-formation from uncouth.