What does chivalry mean?

Definitions for chivalry
ˈʃɪv əl richival·ry

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word chivalry.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. chivalry, gallantry, politessenoun

    courtesy towards women

  2. chivalry, knightlinessnoun

    the medieval principles governing knighthood and knightly conduct


  1. chivalrynoun

    Cavalry; horsemen armed for battle.

  2. chivalrynoun

    The fact or condition of being a knight; knightly skill, prowess.

  3. chivalrynoun

    The ethical code of the knight prevalent in Medieval Europe, having such primary virtues as mercy towards the poor and oppressed, humility, honor, sacrifice, fear of God, faithfulness, courage and utmost graciousness and courtesy to ladies.

  4. chivalrynoun

    Courtesy, respect and honorable conduct between opponents in wartime.

  5. chivalrynoun

    Courteous behavior, especially that of men towards women.

  6. Etymology: chivalrie, a late 13th century loan from word chevalerie, "knighthood, chivalry, nobility, cavalry" (11th century), the -erie abstract of chevaler "knight, horseman", from caballarius, a derivation from caballus.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. CHIVALRYnoun

    Etymology: chevalerie, Fr. knighthood, from cheval, a horse; as eques in Latin.

    There be now, for martial encouragement, some degrees and orders of chivalry; which, nevertheless, are conferred promiscuously upon soldiers and no soldiers. Francis Bacon, Essay, 30.

    Thou hast slain
    The flow’r of Europe for his chivalry. William Shakespeare, Henry VI.

    I may speak it to my shame,
    I have a truant been to chivalry. William Shakespeare, Hen. IV. part i.

    Solemnly he swore,
    That by the faith which knights to knighthood bore,
    And whate’er else to chivalry belongs,
    He would not cease ’till he reveng’d their wrongs. John Dryden, Fab.

    They four doing acts more dangerous, though less famous, because they were but private chivalries. Philip Sidney, b. ii.

    And by his light
    Did all the chivalry of England move
    To do brave acts. William Shakespeare, Henry IV. part ii.


  1. Chivalry

    Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is an informal and varying code of conduct developed in Europe between 1170 and 1220. It was associated with the medieval Christian institution of knighthood; knights' and gentlemen's behaviours were governed by chivalrous social codes. The ideals of chivalry were popularized in medieval literature, particularly the literary cycles known as the Matter of France, relating to the legendary companions of Charlemagne and his men-at-arms, the paladins, and the Matter of Britain, informed by Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written in the 1130s, which popularized the legend of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table. All of these were taken as historically accurate until the beginnings of modern scholarship in the 19th century. The code of chivalry that developed in medieval Europe had its roots in earlier centuries. It arose in the Carolingian Empire from the idealisation of the cavalryman—involving military bravery, individual training, and service to others—especially in Francia, among horse soldiers in Charlemagne's cavalry. The term "chivalry" derives from the Old French term chevalerie, which can be translated as "horse soldiery". Originally, the term referred only to horse-mounted men, from the French word for horse, cheval, but later it became associated with knightly ideals.Over time, its meaning in Europe has been refined to emphasize more general social and moral virtues. The code of chivalry, as it stood by the Late Middle Ages, was a moral system which combined a warrior ethos, knightly piety, and courtly manners, all combining to establish a notion of honour and nobility.


  1. chivalry

    Chivalry is a code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood. It is often defined as qualities idealized by knighthood, such as bravery, courtesy, honor, and gallantry toward women. It can also refer to an honorable and polite way of behaving, especially towards women. The concept came from the ideal qualities expected from a knight, which are courage, honor, justice, loyalty, and readiness to help the weak.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Chivalrynoun

    a body or order of cavaliers or knights serving on horseback; illustrious warriors, collectively; cavalry

  2. Chivalrynoun

    the dignity or system of knighthood; the spirit, usages, or manners of knighthood; the practice of knight-errantry

  3. Chivalrynoun

    the qualifications or character of knights, as valor, dexterity in arms, courtesy, etc

  4. Chivalrynoun

    a tenure of lands by knight's service; that is, by the condition of a knight's performing service on horseback, or of performing some noble or military service to his lord

  5. Chivalrynoun


  6. Etymology: [F. chevalerie, fr. chevalier knight, OF., horseman. See Chevalier, and cf. Cavalry.]


  1. Chivalry

    Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is the traditional code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood. Chivalry arose from an idealized German custom. It was originally conceived of as an aristocratic warrior code — the term derives from the French term chevalerie, meaning horse soldiery — involving, gallantry, and individual training and service to others. Over time its meaning has been refined to emphasise more ideals such as the knightly virtues of honour, courtly love, courtesy, and less martial aspects of the tradition. The Knight's Code of Chivalry was a moral system that stated all knights should protect others who can not protect themselves, such as widows, children, and elders. All knights needed to have the strength and skills to fight wars in the Middle Ages; they not only had to be strong but they were also extremely disciplined and were expected to use their power to protect the weak and defenseless. Knights vowed to be loyal, generous, and "of noble bearing". Knights were required to tell the truth at all times and always respect the honour of women. Knights not only vowed to protect the weak but also vowed to guard the honor of all fellow knights. They always had to obey those who were placed in authority and were never allowed to refuse a challenge from an equal. Knights lived by honor and for glory. Knights were to fear God and maintain His Church. Knights always kept their faith and never turned their back on a foe. Knights despised pecuniary reward. They persevered to the end in any enterprise begun.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Chivalry

    shiv′al-ri, n. the usages and qualifications of chevaliers or knights: bravery and courtesy: the system of knighthood in feudal times.—adjs. Chival′ric, Chiv′alrous, pertaining to chivalry: bold: gallant.—adv. Chiv′alrously.—n. Chiv′alrousness. [Fr. chevaleriecheval—Low L. caballus, a horse.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Chivalry

    a system of knighthood, for the profession of which the qualifications required were dignity, courtesy, bravery, generosity; the aim of which was the defence of right against wrong, of the weak against the strong, and especially of the honour and the purity of women, and the spirit of which was of Christian derivation; originally a military organisation in defence of Christianity against the infidel.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. chivalry

    (Fr. Chevalerie, from chevalier, “knight,” or “horseman”). The system of knighthood, together with the privileges, duties, and manners of knights. The qualifications or character of knights, as valor, dexterity in arms, courtesy, etc.

Editors Contribution

  1. chivalry

    Knight in shining armour-in the middle-ages there used to be knights,kings and queen-now there no knights neither there are a lots of kings-the word guess is used to mean save damsel in distress

    You could associate it with movies where a hero bashes up thuggies-could also happen in reverse-its just a hangover word I guess-better word may be brave-some words dont stand test of time-so to say

    Submitted by Lighthouse21 on May 13, 2018  

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of chivalry in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of chivalry in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of chivalry in a Sentence

  1. Edmund Burke:

    I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone.

  2. Charles Sumner:

    The senator from South Carolina has read many books of chivalry, and believes himself a chivalrous knight, with sentiments of honor and courage. Of course he has chosen a mistress to whom he has made his vows, i mean the harlot Slavery.

  3. Honore De Balzac:

    The motto of chivalry is also the motto of wisdom; to serve all, but love only one.

  4. Sir Thomas More:

    The most part of all princes have more delight in warlike manners and feats of chivalry than in the good feats of peace.

  5. Dejan Stojanovic:

    To risk life to save a smile on a face of a woman or a child is the secret of chivalry.

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Translations for chivalry

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"chivalry." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/chivalry>.

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    a sophisticated person who has travelled in many countries
    A dangerous
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