1. The most affluent, powerful, or influential class in a society. The fancy awards ceremony was a chance for me to see polite society up close for a night. But those very generous tax breaks are only extended to polite society, never working people like us.
2. People who are very concerned with established social norms, manners, and etiquette. In polite society, a thank you card is to always be sent promptly after a gift has been received. Discussing personal problems can sometimes be seen as a breach of decorum in polite society.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.