Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1400-1500
Language: Latin
Origin: , past participle of polire; POLISH1

polite

adjective
     
po‧lite S3
1 behaving or speaking in a way that is correct for the social situation you are in, and showing that you are careful to consider other people's needs and feelings [≠ rude, impolite]:
She's always very polite.
polite, well-behaved children
a clear but polite request
it is polite (of somebody) to do something
We left the party as soon as it was polite to do so.
It's not polite to talk with your mouth full.
2 you make polite conversation, remarks etc because it is considered socially correct to do this, but not necessarily because you believe what you are saying
polite remarks/conversation/interest etc
While they ate, they made polite conversation about the weather.
Jan expressed polite interest in Edward's stamp collection.
I know Ian said he liked her singing, but he was only being polite.
3

in polite society/circles/company

among people who are considered to have a good education and correct social behaviour - often used humorously:
You can't use words like that in polite company.
politely adverb:
'Can I help you?' she asked politely.
politeness noun [uncountable]

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