- a horseman, especially a mounted soldier; knight.
- one having the spirit or bearing of a knight; a courtly gentleman; gallant.
- a man escorting a woman or acting as her partner in dancing.
- (initial capital letter) an adherent of Charles I of England in his contest with Parliament.
- haughty, disdainful, or supercilious: an arrogant and cavalier attitude toward others.
- offhand or unceremonious: The very dignified officials were confused by his cavalier manner.
- (initial capital letter) of or relating to the Cavaliers.
- (initial capital letter) of, relating to, or characteristic of the Cavalier poets or their work.
- to play the cavalier.
- to be haughty or domineering.
Origin of cavalier
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for cavalier
"There is a cost to such a cavalier attitude," said Aparício, the former Bolivian ambassador to Washington.Is Edward Snowden Bound for Bolivia? Evo Morales Sure Seems to Hope So
Eli Lake, Mac Margolis
July 2, 2013
“Wrong station, mate, you want the next,” you tell a strapping boy in a cavalier cloak.‘Stupid Enough to Pay’: Tim Parks’s Italian Rail Adventures
June 23, 2013
“Some reporters may take a cavalier attitude about being a martyr for a cause,” the friend added.Jana Winter Gets Reprieve but Could Still Be Jailed Over Holmes Scoop
April 9, 2013
One of our two surviving dogs (since the death of our beloved yellow Lab Cobber) is a Cavalier.Dogs: Odd like Humans
January 3, 2013
No banker who truly understands risk should be so cavalier about it.Jamie Dimon’s Hubris Unshakable as JPMorgan Reelects Him to Top Two Posts
May 16, 2012
And why should her father mistrust this splendid-looking Spanish cavalier?Fair Margaret
H. Rider Haggard
Treat this cavalier with all the respect and worship due to his birth and merits.Calderon The Courtier
At all events, I have not danced four dances in one evening with one cavalier.
History has a cavalier way of recording the benefits of conquest.Mountain Meditations
"The rest of the planking's sure to be gone by this time," continues the cavalier.Brighter Britain! (Volume 1 of 2)
William Delisle Hay
- showing haughty disregard; offhand
- a gallant or courtly gentleman, esp one acting as a lady's escort
- archaic a horseman, esp one who is armed
- a supporter of Charles I during the English Civil WarCompare Roundhead
Word Origin and History for cavalier
1580s, from Italian cavalliere "mounted soldier, knight; gentleman serving as a lady's escort," from Late Latin caballarius "horseman," from Vulgar Latin caballus, the common Vulgar Latin word for "horse" (and source of Italian cavallo, French cheval, Spanish caballo, Irish capall, Welsh ceffyl), displacing Latin equus (see equine).
Sense advanced in 17c. to "knight," then "courtly gentleman" (but also, pejoratively, "swaggerer"), which led to the adjectival senses, especially "disdainful" (1650s). Meaning "Royalist adherent of Charles I" is from 1641. Meaning "one who devotes himself solely to attendance on a lady" is from 1817, roughly translating Italian cavaliere-servente. In classical Latin caballus was "work horse, pack horse," sometimes, disdainfully, "hack, nag." "Not a native Lat. word (as the second -a- would show), though the source of the borrowing is uncertain" [Tucker]. Perhaps from some Balkan or Anatolian language, and meaning, originally, "gelding." The same source is thought to have yielded Old Church Slavonic kobyla.
"disdainful," 1650s, from cavalier (n.). Earlier it meant "gallant" (1640s). Related: Cavalierly.