late 14c., "status of a citizen," from Old French civilite (14c.), from Latin civilis "relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen; popular, affable, courteous" (see civil). Later especially "good citizenship" (1530s). Also "state of being civilized" (1540s); "behavior proper to civilized persons" (1560s).
1704, in a now-obsolete sense "law which makes a criminal process civil," from civil + -ization. Sense of "civilized condition, state of being reclaimed from the rudeness of savage life" first recorded 1772, probably from French civilisation, serving as an opposite to barbarity and a distinct word from civility. From civilize + -ation. Sense of "a particular human society in a civilized condition, considered as a whole over time," is from 1857. Related: Civilizational.
"civility and graciousness, desire to please," 1650s, from French complaisance (14c.), in Middle French "care or desire to please," from Medieval Latin complacentia "satisfaction, pleasure" (see complacence). Related: Complaisancy.
"civility, politeness," 1717, from French politesse (17c.), from Italian politezza, properly "the quality of being polite," from polito "polite," from Latin politus (see polite). "In mod. usage generally with depreciatory connotation" [OED].
"act or expression of civility, respect, or regard" (or, as Johnson defines it, "An act, or expression of civility, usually understood to include some hypocrisy, and to mean less than it declares"), 1570s, complement, ultimately from Latin complementum "that which fills up or completes" (see complement, which is essentially the same word), the notion being "that which completes the obligations of politeness."
The spelling of this derived sense shifted in English after c. 1650 to compliment, via French compliment (17c.), which is from Italian complimento "expression of respect and civility," from complire "to fill up, finish, suit, compliment," from Vulgar Latin *complire, for Latin complere "to complete" (see complete (adj.)).
By early 19c. the meaning had been extended to "an expression of praise or admiration. Meaning "a present or favor bestowed, a complimentary gift" is from 1722.
late 14c., "polished, burnished" (mid-13c. as a surname), from Latin politus "refined, elegant, accomplished," literally "polished," past participle of polire "to polish, to make smooth" (see polish (v.)).
The literal sense is obsolete in English; the sense of "elegant, cultured" (of literature, arts, etc.) is from c. 1500; of persons, "refined or cultivated in speech, manner, or behavior," by 1620s. The meaning "behaving courteously, showing consideration for others" is by 1748 (implied in politely). Related: Politeness.
Polite applies to one who shows a polished civility, who has a higher training in ease and gracefulness of manners: politeness is a deeper, more comprehensive, more delicate, and perhaps more genuine thing than civility. Polite, though much abused, is becoming the standard word for the bearing of a refined and kind person toward others. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
"requite, repay, or return in kind," 1610s, from Latin retaliatus, past participle of retaliare "pay back in kind," from re- "back" (see re-) + Latin talio "exaction of payment in kind," from or influenced by talis "suchlike" (see that). Originally of kindness, civility, etc., but by 1630s of injury, ill-treatment, etc. (now the usual sense). Intransitive sense is from 1650s. Related: Retaliated; retaliating.