Polite company and polite society

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Polite company refers to a group of people who are respectable, who conform to norms of behavior and language that are inoffensive to others in society. Originally, polite company referred to socially superior people. Today, polite company is used more to describe a group of people that adheres to behavior and language that cannot be construed as provocative.

Polite society also refers to a group of people who conform to the norms of behavior and language that are inoffensive to others in society. A general rule of conversation when in polite company and polite society is not to discuss politics or religion, but to stick to topics that are neutral.


This travel and entertainment racket has been around for some time, and polite company in your nation’s capital have decided to look the other way. (The Washington Post)

Your mother probably told you—mine told me—that you should never talk about religion or politics in polite company. (The Daily Mail)

The staples parted company from the front cover years ago, but I have no reason to be ashamed to pull it out in front of polite company, which we don’t have much of anyway. (The Bangor Daily News)

When polite society needs a favor from Daniel Nardicio, it usually comes with a caveat. (OUT Magazine)

And I didn’t even eschew polite society for the wilds of the Brew Grass Festival. (Entertainment Weekly)

The film’s depiction of her older years lacks the harsh, visceral impact of its earlier scenes, prolonging and repeating its emotional beats to convey her growing alienation from polite society, and rather too vaguely sketching a rare friendship with older man Miroslav (Martin Pechlat, providing the pic’s few notes of warmth). (Variety)