couth O.E. cuðe "known," pp. of cunnan (see CAN (Cf. can) (v.)), from P.Gmc. *kunthaz (Cf. O.Fris. kuth "known," O.S. cuth, O.H.G. kund, Ger. kund, Goth. kunþs "known"). Died out as such 16c. with the emergence of COULD (Cf. could), but the old word was reborn 1896, with a new sense of "cultured, refined," as a back-formation from UNCOUTH (Cf. uncouth) (q.v.). The O.E. word forms the first element in the man's proper name Cuthbert, lit. "famous-bright."

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • couth — couth·ie; sel·couth; un·couth; couth; un·couth·ly; un·couth·ness; …   English syllables

  • Couth — (k??th), imp. & p. p. of {Can}. [See {Can}, and cf. {Uncouth}.] Could; was able; knew or known; understood. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Above all other one Daniel He loveth, for he couth well Divine, that none other couth; To him were all things couth …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • couth|ie — «KOO thee», adjective. Scottish. friendly or sociable; kind or pleasant. Also, couthy. ╂[Middle English couth pleasant (Old English cūth known, familiar) + ie] …   Useful english dictionary

  • couth — [ko͞oth] adj. [ME cuthe < OE cuth (see UNCOUTH); current use also back form. < UNCOUTH] 1. refined; polished; civilized: a humorous usage 2. Archaic known; familiar n. refinement; cultivation …   English World dictionary

  • couth|y — «KOO thee», adjective. Scottish. couthie …   Useful english dictionary

  • couth — couth1 /koohth/, Facetious. adj. 1. showing or having good manners or sophistication; smooth: Sending her flowers would be a very couth thing to do. n. 2. good manners; refinement: to be lacking in couth. [1895 1900; back formation from UNCOUTH]… …   Universalium

  • couth — I. adjective Etymology: back formation from uncouth Date: 1896 sophisticated, polished II. noun Date: 1947 polish, refinement < I expected kindness and gentility…but there is such a thing as too much couth S. J. Perelman > …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • couth — 1. adjective /kuːθ/ Marked by or possessing a high degree of sophistication; cultured, refined. 2. noun /kuːθ/ Social grace, sophistication; manners; refinement. That man has no couth …   Wiktionary

  • Couth — Recorded in several spellings including Gough, Goff, Goffe, Goth, Gouth, and unusual dialectals such as Coath and Couth, this interesting surname is usually English when recorded in England. It has two known origins. The first is occupational… …   Surnames reference

  • couth — Cool, hip opposite of uncouth. That party last night was pretty couth …   Dictionary of american slang

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