n. pl. cour·te·sies
a. Polite behavior.
b. A polite gesture or remark.
a. Consent or agreement in spite of fact; indulgence: They call this pond a lake by courtesy only.
b. Willingness or generosity in providing something needed: free advertising through the courtesy of the local newspaper.
1. Given or done as a polite gesture: paid a courtesy visit to the new neighbors.
2. Free of charge: courtesy tickets for the reporters.
[Middle English courtesie, from Old French, from corteis, courtly; see COURTEOUS.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.