What does courtesan mean?

Definitions for courtesan
ˈkɔr tə zən, ˈkoʊr-, ˈkɜr-cour·te·san

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. concubine, courtesan, doxy, paramournoun

    a woman who cohabits with an important man


  1. courtesannoun

    A woman of a royal or noble court.

  2. courtesannoun

    The mistress of a royal or noble.

  3. courtesannoun

    A prostitute, especially one with high-status or wealthy clients

  4. Etymology: From French courtisane, from Italian cortigiana, feminine of cortigiano ‘courtier’, from corte ‘court’.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Courtesan, Courtezannoun

    A woman of the town; a prostitute; a strumpet.

    Etymology: cortisana, low Latin.

    ’Tis a brave night to cool a courtezan. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    With them there are no stews, no dissolute houses, no courtesans, nor any thing of that kind; nay, they wonder, with detestation, at you in Europe, which permit such things. Francis Bacon, New Atlantis.

    The Corinthian is a column, lasciviously decked like a courtesan. Henry Wotton.

    Charixus, the brother of Sappho, in love with Rhodope the courtezan, spent his whole estate upon her. Joseph Addison, Spectator.


  1. Courtesan

    Courtesan, in modern usage, is a euphemism for a "kept" mistress or prostitute, particularly one with wealthy, powerful, or influential clients. The term historically referred to a courtier, a person who attended the court of a monarch or other powerful person.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Courtesannoun

    a woman who prostitutes herself for hire; a prostitute; a harlot

  2. Etymology: [F. courtisane, fr. courtisan courtier, It. cortigiano; or directly fr. It. cortigiana, or Sp. cortesana. See Court.]


  1. Courtesan

    A courtesan was originally a courtier, which means a person who attends the court of a monarch or other powerful person. The modern use of the term for a prostitute or mistress of a man of rank belies a much more complex heritage. In feudal society, the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, and social and political life were often completely mixed together. Prior to the Renaissance, courtesans served to convey information untrusted to servants to visiting dignitaries. In Renaissance Europe, courtiers played an extremely important role in upper-class society. As it was customary during this time for royal couples to lead separate lives—commonly marrying simply to preserve bloodlines and to secure political alliances—men and women would often seek gratification and companionship from people living at court. In fact, the verb to court originally meant "to be or reside at court", and later came to mean "to behave as a courtier" and then "to pay amorous attention to somebody". The most intimate companion of a ruler was called the favourite. In Renaissance usage, the Italian word cortigiana, feminine of cortigiano came to refer to "the ruler's mistress", and then to a well-educated and independent woman of loose morals, eventually a trained artisan of dance and singing, especially one associated with wealthy, powerful, or upper-class men who provided luxuries and status in exchange for companionship. The word was borrowed by English from Italian through the French form "courtisane" during the 16th century, especially associated to the meaning of court-mistress and prostitute.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Courtesan

    -zan, kōrt′e-zan, or kurt′e-zan, n. a court-mistress: a woman of the town, a whore. [Fr.,—It. cortigiana.]

Matched Categories

Anagrams for courtesan »

  1. nectarous

  2. acentrous

  3. ancestour

  4. auncestor

  5. courantes

How to pronounce courtesan?

How to say courtesan in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of courtesan in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of courtesan in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

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"courtesan." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 4 Jun 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/courtesan>.

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    a protective covering (as for a knife or sword)
    • A. sheath
    • B. peccadillo
    • C. snap
    • D. concoction

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