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Definition of "courtly" [court•ly]

  • Suitable for a royal court; stately: courtly furniture and pictures. (adjective)
  • Elegant; refined: courtly manners. (adjective)
  • Flattering in an insincere way; obsequious. (adjective)
  • In a courtly manner; elegantly or politely. (adverb)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "courtly" in a sentence
  • "She received foreign ambassadors, royal messengers and engaged in courtly pastimes."
  • "He sat down and addressed the Caliph in courtly phrase, saying, “O Commander of the Faithful, I have brought with me an humble offering by way of homage: have I thy gracious permission to produce it?”"
  • "Sevdah bears comparison to Portuguese fado and Spanish flamenco; all three are vocal arts rooted in Arabic courtly love songs from a millennium ago."