Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Being in accord with conventions or accepted standards; proper.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Proper; in keeping with etiquette or social standards.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • As it should be; according to the rules of good society; genteel; proper: a French phrase often used in English.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. according with custom or propriety

Etymologies

French : comme, as + il faut, it is necessary, proper.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from French comme il faut ‘as it should be’. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It is never desirable to remain until the last at an evening-party, but is more comme il faut to be among the earliest to bid adieu to the hostess; yet, it is not well to go too early, and be the means of breaking up the party.

    A Manual of Etiquette with Hints on Politeness and Good Breeding

  • Weary as we were, it was impossible to attempt reposing until a purification had been effected: we therefore set ourselves to sprinkling vinegar and burning perfumes; and it was curious to observe that the people, (all gens comme il faut [People of fashion.]) whom we found inhaling the atmosphere of a Caffrarian hut, declared their nerves were incommoded by the essence of roses and vinaigre des quatre voleurs.

    A Residence in France During the Years 1792 1793 1794 and 1795

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