Meaning of “polite” in the English Dictionary

"polite" in British English

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politeadjective

uk /pəˈlaɪt/ us /pəˈlaɪt/

A2 behaving in a way that is socially correct and shows understanding of and care for other people's feelings:

I'm afraid I wasn't very polite to her.
She sent me a polite letter thanking me for my invitation.
He was too polite to point out my mistake.
polite society/company old-fashioned or humorous

people who have been taught how to behave in a socially correct way:

Sex never used to be discussed in polite society.

More examples

  • She was polite but not excessively so.
  • "Try to be polite to him." "Like hell I will!"
  • He was unusually polite.
  • He's usually quite polite in my presence.
  • They're very polite in your presence, but you get the feeling they're laughing up their sleeves.
politeness
noun [ U ] uk /pəˈlaɪt.nəs/ us /pəˈlaɪt.nəs/

(Definition of “polite” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"polite" in American English

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politeadjective

us /pəˈlɑɪt/

behaving in a way that is socially correct and shows respect for other people’s feelings:

She was too polite to point out my mistake.
politely
adverb us /pəˈlɑɪt·li/

He politely asked them to leave.
politeness
noun [ U ] us /pəˈlɑɪt·nəs/

With unfailing politeness he answered their questions.

(Definition of “polite” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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