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For other uses, see Etiquette (disambiguation).
For Wikipedia's guidelines on etiquette, see Wikipedia:Etiquette.
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(September 2009)

In High-Change in Bond Street,—ou—la Politesse du Grande Monde (1796), James Gillray

caricatured the lack of etiquette in a group of men leering at women and crowding them off a

Etiquette (pronounced /ˈɛtɨkɛt/ or /ˈɛtɨkɪt/) is a code of behavior that delineates expectations

for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social
class, or group. The French word étiquette, literally signifying tag or label first appeared in
English around 1750.[1]


• 1 Usage
• 2 Rules of etiquette
o 2.1 Manners
o 2.2 Western office and business etiquette
• 3 Cultural differences
• 4 See also
• 5 References
• 6 Further reading

• 7 External links

[edit] Usage
Like culture, etiquette is a word that has gradually grown to become plural, especially in a
multi-ethnic society with many clashing expectations. Thus, it is now possible to refer to "an
etiquette" or "a culture", realizing that these may not be universal. In Britain, the word
"etiquette" has been described as the one word that aptly describes life during the reign of
queen Victoria.[2]

[edit] Rules of etiquette

Rules of etiquette encompass most aspects of social interaction in any society, though the
term itself is not commonly used. A rule of etiquette may reflect an underlying ethical code,
or it may reflect a person's fashion or status. Rules of etiquette are usually unwritten, but
aspects of etiquette have been codified from time to time.

[edit] Manners

Main article: Manners

"Etiquette tells one which fork to use. Manners tells one what to do when your neighbour

Manners involve a wide range of social interactions within cultural norms as in the "comedy
of manners", or a painter's characteristic "manner". Etiquette and manners, like mythology,
have buried histories especially when they seem to have little obvious purpose, and their
justifications as logical ("respect shown to others" etc.) may be equally revealing to the social

This section does not cite any references or sources.

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be
challenged and removed. (November 2010)
Main article: Etiquette in North America

In the United States, the notion of etiquette, being of French origin and arising from practices
at the court of Louis XIV, is occasionally disparaged, especially by those unfamiliar with
etiquette's social foundations and functions, as old-fashioned or elite, a code concerned only
with apparently remote directives such as "which fork to use". Some such individuals
consider etiquette to be an unnecessary restriction of freedom of personal expression; others
consider such a philosophy to be espoused only by the unschooled, the unmannerly and the
rude. For instance, wearing pajamas to a wedding in a cathedral may indeed be an expression
of the guest's freedom, but also may cause the bride and groom to suspect that the guest in
pajamas is expressing amusement, disparagement, or disrespect towards them and their
wedding. Etiquette may be enforced in pragmatic ways: "No shoes, no shirt, no service" is a
notice commonly displayed outside stores and cafés in the warmer parts of North America.
Others feel that a single, basic code shared by all makes life simpler and more pleasant by
removing many chances for misunderstandings and by creating opportunities for courtesy and
mutual respect.

An example for a company offering etiquette and manners advice is Debrett's. Founded in
England in 1769, its origins were in chronicling the British aristocracy and outlining the
protocol for court and social occasions. The twenty first century Debrett's is much more
contemporary and egalitarian, offering advice on a whole range of formal and informal
etiquette on its comprehensive website and in printed form. Indeed their guides to manners
and form have long been the last word among polite society. Traditional publications such as
Correct Form have recently been updated to reflect contemporary society, and new titles such
as A - Z of Modern Manners, Etiquette for Girls and Guide for the Modern Gentleman act as
guides for those who want to combine a modern lifestyle with traditional values.

[edit] Western office and business etiquette

The etiquette of business is the set of written and unwritten rules of conduct that make social
interactions run more smoothly. Office etiquette in particular applies to coworker interaction,
excluding interactions with external contacts such as customers and suppliers. When
conducting group meetings in the United States, the assembly might follow Robert's Rules of
Order, if there are no other company policies to control a meeting.

Both office and business etiquette overlap considerably with basic tenets of netiquette, the
social conventions for using computer networks. These rules are often echoed throughout an
industry or economy. For instance, 49% of employers surveyed in 2005 by the American
National Association of Colleges and Employers found that non-traditional attire would be a
"strong influence" on their opinion of a potential job candidate.[3]

Adjusting to foreign etiquettes is a major complement of culture shock, providing a market

for manuals.[4]

[edit] Cultural differences

Hunting Lice by Candlelight, Andries Both (Dutch, ca.1612/13–1641)

Etiquette is dependent on culture; what is excellent etiquette in one society may shock
another. Etiquette evolves within culture. The Dutch painter Andries Both shows that the
hunt for head lice (illustration, right), which had been a civilized grooming occupation in the
early Middle Ages, a bonding experience that reinforced the comparative rank of two people,
one groomed, one groomer, had become a peasant occupation by 1630. The painter portrays
the familiar operation matter-of-factly, without the disdain this subject would have received
in a nineteenth-century representation.
Etiquette can vary widely between different cultures and nations. In China, a person who
takes the last item of food from a common plate or bowl without first offering it to others at
the table may be seen as a glutton and insulting the generosity of the host. In America a guest
is expected to eat all of the food given to them, as a compliment to the quality of the cooking.

In such rigid hierarchal cultures as Korea and Japan, alcohol helps to break down the strict
social barrier between classes. It allows for a hint of informality to creep in. It is traditional
for host and guest to take turns filling each other's cups and encouraging each other to gulp it
down. For someone who does not consume alcohol (except for religious reasons), it can be
difficult escaping the ritual of the social drink.[5]

Etiquette is a topic that has occupied writers and thinkers in all sophisticated societies for
millennia, beginning with a behavior code by Ptahhotep, a vizier in ancient Egypt's Old
Kingdom during the reign of the Fifth Dynasty king Djedkare Isesi (ca. 2414–2375 B.C.). All
known literate civilizations, including ancient Greece and Rome, developed rules for proper
social conduct. Confucius included rules for eating and speaking along with his more
philosophical sayings.

Early modern conceptions of what behavior identifies a "gentleman" were codified in the
sixteenth century, in a book by Baldassare Castiglione, Il Cortegiano ("The Courtier"); its
codification of expectations at the Este court remained in force in its essentials until World
War I. Louis XIV established an elaborate and rigid court ceremony, but distinguished
himself from the high bourgeoisie by continuing to eat, stylishly and fastidiously, with his
fingers. An important book about etiquette is Galateo, overo de' costumi by Monsignor
Giovanni della Casa; in fact, in Italian, etiquette is generally called galateo (or etichetta or

As noted above, across the world, Debrett's is considered by many to be the arbiter of
etiquette; its guides to manners and form have long been and continue to be the last word
among polite society[citation needed](who know of this company and service and need to rely on an
external advisor to "decide" for them).

In the American colonies Benjamin Franklin and George Washington wrote codes of conduct
for young gentlemen. The immense popularity of advice columns and books by Letitia
Baldrige and Miss Manners shows the currency of this topic. Even more recently, the rise of
the Internet has necessitated the adaptation of existing rules of conduct to create Netiquette,
which governs the drafting of email, rules for participating in an online forum, and so on.

In Germany, there is an "unofficial" code of conduct, called the Knigge, based on a book of
high rules of conduct written by Adolph Freiherr Knigge in the late 18th century entitled
exactly Über den Umgang mit Menschen (On Human Relations). The code of conduct is still
highly respected in Germany today and is used primarily in the higher society.

Etiquette may be wielded as a social weapon. The outward adoption of the superficial
mannerisms of an in-group, in the interests of social advancement rather than a concern for
others, is considered by many a form of snobbery, lacking in virtue.

[edit] See also

Etiquette and language Etiquette and society Worldwide Etiquette

• Acrolect • Social graces • Africa

• Aizuchi • Aliénor de Poitiers early • Asia
• Basilect documentor of French etiquette • Australia and
• Honorific • Concert etiquette New Zealand
• Netiquette • Debrett's • Europe
• Polite fiction • Diplomacy • Latin America
• Prescription and • Faux pas, Faux pas derived from • Middle East
description Chinese pronunciation
• Profanity • Intercultural competence • North America
• Semantics • Levée, the English version of
• Slang Louis XIV's morning rising
• Slang dictionary etiquette (lever) at Versailles.
• Standard language • Military courtesy
• Style of address • Order of precedence
• T-V distinction • Protocol
• Refinement, Psychology And
• What happens on Social Class
tour, stays on tour • Rules of Civility and Decent
Behaviour In Company and
Conversation by George
• Social Norms
• Table manners
• Work Etiquette

• Zigzag method

[edit] References
1. ^ OED, "Etiquette".
2. ^ "Victorian Society". 1999-2010. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
3. ^ "Blue hair, body piercings--do employers care?". Grab Bag. Occupational Outlook
Quarterly. Fall 2006. Retrieved
August 9, 2010.
4. ^ De Mente, Boyd (1994). Chinese Etiquette & Ethics in Business. Lincolnwood: NTC
Business Books. ISBN 0844285242.
5. ^ Mitchell, Charles (1999). Short Course in International Business Culture. San Rafael:
World Trade Press. ISBN 1885073542.

[edit] Further reading

This article's citation style may be unclear. The references used may be made
clearer with a different or consistent style of citation, footnoting, or external linking.
(December 2006)
• SERRES, Jean (2010). PRACTICAL HANDBOOK OF PROTOCOL. 3 avenue Pasteur
- 92400 Courbevoie, France: Editions de la Bièvre. pp. 474. ISBN 2905955043.
Originally published in 1947
avenue Pasteur - 92400 Courbevoie, France: Editions de la Bièvre. pp. 478.
ISBN 2905955031. Originally published in 1947
• Tuckerman, Nancy (1995). The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette. Garden
City: Doubleday. ISBN 0385413424. Originally published in 1952, this and Emily
Post's book were the U.S. etiquette bibles of the 50's-70's era.
• Debrett's Correct Form. Debrett's Ltd. 2006. ISBN 1870520882.
• Bryant, Jo (2008). Debrett's A-Z of Modern Manners. Debrett's Ltd.
ISBN 1870520750.
• Marsh, Peter (1988). Eye to Eye. Tospfield: Salem House Publishers.
ISBN 0881623717.
• From Clueless to Class Act, series of books on etiquette, by Jodi Smith deals with
proper etiquette for men and women.
• Johnson, Dorothea (1997). The Little Book of Etiquette. Protocol School of
Washington. Philadelphia: Running Press. pp. 127. ISBN 978-0-7624-0009-6. [A
pocket-sized, take-along reference book for the user's convenience. Lay summary].
• Martin, Judith (2005). Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior,
Freshly Updated. W.W. Norton & Co.. pp. 858. ISBN 0-393-05874-3.
• Baldrige, Letitia (2003). New Manners for New Times: A Complete Guide to
Etiquette. New York: Scribner. pp. 709. ISBN 0-7432-1062-X.
• Brown, Robert E.; Dorothea Johnson (2004). The Power of Handshaking for Peak
Performance Worldwide. Herndon, Virginia: Capital Books, Inc.. pp. 98. ISBN 1-
• Secrets of Seasoned Professionals: They learned the hard way so you don't have to,
by Kelly A. Tyler, Fired Up Publishing (2008), ISBN 978-0-9818298-0-7, 146 pages.
• Town & Country Modern Manners: The Thinking Person's Guide to Social Graces,
by Thomas P. Farley, Hearst Books (September 2005), ISBN 1-58816-454-3, 256
• Manners That Sell: Adding the Polish that Builds Profits, by Lydia Ramsey,
Longfellow Press (2007), 978-0967001203, 188 pages.
• Socially Smart in 60 Seconds: Etiquette Do's and Don'ts for Personal and
Professional Success", by Deborah Smith Pegues, Harvest House Publishers (2009),
ISBN 978-0-7369-2050-6.
• The Britiquette Series: The Must-Have Guide to Posh Nosh Table Manners (66 pages)
and The Slightly Rude But Much Needed Guide to Social Grace & Good Manners
(101 pages), by Elaine Grace, (2007), (EBooks).
• Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work by Jacqueline Whitmore, St.
Martin's Press (2005), ISBN 0312338090, 198 pages.

[edit] External links

Look up etiquette in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

• Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home, by Emily Post (1922)

• Debrett's
• Tips About Cross-cultural Etiquette on
• Defining Modern Etiquette
• World Business Etiquette Guides
• Etiquette, Manners and Correct Forms of Address

Retrieved from ""

Categories: Habits | Etiquette | Popular culture
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