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or courtezan

[kawr-tuh-zuh n, kohr-, kur-] /ˈkɔr tə zən, ˈkoʊr-, ˈkɜr-/
a prostitute or paramour, especially one associating with noblemen or men of wealth.
Origin of courtesan
1540-50; < Middle French courtisane < Italian cortigiana, literally, woman of the court, derivative of corte court Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for courtesan
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • From the first to the last moment of her reign, she combined the courtesan with the assassin.

    Ridgeway Scian Dubh
  • For Dawson was at this time the Mecca of the gambler and the courtesan.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • First I hated you, when I dreamed you to be but a courtesan traitress.

    The Lion's Brood

    Duffield Osborne
  • And the monk touched with his lips the forehead of the courtesan.

    Thais Anatole France
  • In the diffident manner was nothing of the art of the courtesan.

    Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
British Dictionary definitions for courtesan


(esp formerly) a prostitute, or the mistress of a man of rank
Word Origin
C16: from Old French courtisane, from Italian cortigiana female courtier, from cortigiano courtier, from cortecourt
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for courtesan

early 15c., from Middle French courtisane, from Italian cortigiana "prostitute," literally "woman of the court," fem. of cortigiano "one attached to a court," from corte "court," from Latin cortem (see court (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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