What Does R.S.V.P. Mean?


Why Do We Use the Initials R.S.V.P.?
The acronym R.S.V.P. stands for the French phrase "répondez, s'il vous plaît," which literally means "respond if you please." honeybeani/Thinkstock

Many have credited the court of King Louis XIV of France with making etiquette fashionable. It is true that he was a fan of protocol, and the rise in etiquette during his reign was probably due to his court being social climbers more than anything else. But that doesn't mean Louis XIV invented etiquette. In fact, an Italian diplomat, Conte Baldassare Castiglione, wrote "The Book of the Courtier" in 1588 and it's considered the first books about proper behavior among nobility.

Many of the practices of Western etiquette did, however, came from Louis XIV. At Versailles, Louis XIV had the rules for court behavior written on what the French referred to as "tickets," or "étiquette." The tickets either were signs posted at Versailles or were the invitations issued to court events with the rules of behavior printed on the back; experts give different versions of the origin. And French was the language of refinement and high society through the 19th century in the United States. Miss Manners thinks that R.S.V.P. came about as a polite way of reminding people of something that they should already know: If you receive an invitation, you should reply.

For more information on etiquette, check out the links on the next page.

Last editorial update on Mar 8, 2018 02:49:34 pm.

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