From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishpolitepo‧lite /pəˈlaɪt/ ●●●S3 adjective 🔊 🔊 1POLITEbehaving or speaking in a way that is correct for the socialsituation you are in, and showing that you are careful to consider other people’s needs and feelings opp rude, impolite 🔊 She’s always very polite. 🔊 polite, well-behaved children 🔊 a clear but polite requestit 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.2POLITEyou make politeconversation, remarks etc because it is considered socially correct to do this, but not necessarily because you believe what you are sayingpolite 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 —politely adverb 🔊 ‘Can I help you?’ she asked politely. —politeness noun [uncountable]THESAURUSpolite 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 feelingsHe was too polite to ask how old she was.‘Excuse me, sir, ’ she said in a polite voice.well-mannered having good manners and knowing the correct way to behave in social situationsShe was beautifully dressed and very well-mannered.well-behaved polite and not causing any trouble – used about children or animalsThe children were very well-behaved.Well-behaved dogs are welcome at the hotel.courteous /ˈkɜːtiəs $ ˈkɜːr-/ polite and respectful, and behaving rather formallyThe hotel staff were very courteous and helpful.a courteous replyrespectful polite and treating someone with respectHe was very respectful towards all my relatives.‘Thank you, ’ he said with a respectful bow.civil polite in a formal way, especially when you do not feel very friendly towards someoneShe’d never liked her father-in-law, but she forced herself to be civil to him.When you’ve stopped arguing, you might be able to have a civil conversation.deferential formal polite towards someone, especially because they are in a more important social positionIn those days women were expected to be deferential to men.
Examples from the Corpus
polite• Did you mean what you said about my dress, or were you just being polite?• The guests were all very polite about the meal, but inside Joan just wanted to cry.• The clerks were very polite and helpful.• However, when you meet Sean Young she's disarmingly polite and looks as if butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.• Be brisk, polite, and put the phone down.• I hope this came across in calm, polite and unthreatening language.• The last thing I felt like doing was making polite conversation with my roommate's parents.• We exchangedpolite goodbyes before getting on the train.• a politesmile• He was even polite to all his amateurpartners.• I didn't really care what she thought about the book, but I thought it would be polite to ask her.• It's not considered polite to ask someone how much they earn.• They were interested, friendly, and much too polite to laugh at behavior they almost certainly felt was peculiar.• She's always extremely polite to me, but I never know what she's really thinking.• Too polite to object, Helen found herself listening.• He is polite with them all.• He seemed a very polite young man.polite remarks/conversation/interest etc• All she'd done was to make a bit of polite conversation!• Even so, there was not much that could be said, other than polite conversation.• I decided that I had not come all this way only to indulge in polite conversation.• This is not the kind of guy who makes polite conversation.• I wanted live action, not polite conversation and chickencordon bleu.• He would acknowledge the source - he was not a plagiarist - but his polite conversation was, he knew, poor.