1 a : friendly social atmosphere : social harmony
b : a loose widespread community based on common social institutions
c : the courtesy and friendship of nations marked especially by mutual recognition of executive, legislative, and judicial acts : comity of nations
d : the informal and voluntary recognition by courts of one jurisdiction of the laws and judicial decisions of another
2 : avoidance of proselytizing members of another religious denomination
Did You Know?
“Our country soweth also in the field of our breasts many precious seeds, as … honest behavior, affability, comity,” wrote English clergyman Thomas Becon in 1543. Becon’s use is an early documented appearance of comity—a word derived from Latin cōmitās, meaning “friendliness, courtesy, or graciousness.” Comity is largely used in political and judicial contexts. Since 1804, comity of nations has referred to countries bound by a courteous relationship based on mutual recognition of executive, legislative, and judicial acts. And, in legal contexts, comity refers to the recognition by courts of one jurisdiction of the laws and judicial decisions of another.
“Most Las Vegas rides from the casino back to the rooms breed comity, compassion—everyone’s been fleeced by the same con—but this crew stews and accuses.” — Walter Kirn, Up in the Air, 2001
“Biden has long valorized comity and respect in the political arena. In his memoir ‘Promises to Keep,’ from 2007, he recalls the counsel of Mike Mansfield—the Democratic Majority Leader when Biden arrived in the Senate, in 1973, at the age of thirty—to always ‘find the good things in your colleagues.'” — Michael Luo, The New Yorker, 17 Oct. 2020