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courtly love

a highly stylized code of behavior popular chiefly from the 12th to the 14th century that prescribed the rules of conduct between lovers, advocating idealized but illicit love, and which fostered an extensive medieval literature based on this tradition.
Origin of courtly love
First recorded in 1895-1900 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for courtly love

courtly love

a tradition represented in Western European literature between the 12th and the 14th centuries, idealizing love between a knight and a revered (usually married) lady
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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courtly love in Culture

courtly love definition

A set of attitudes toward love that were strong in the Middle Ages. According to the ideal of courtly love, a knight or nobleman worshiped a woman of high birth, and his love for her inspired him to do great things on the battlefield and elsewhere. There was usually no physical relationship or marriage between them, however; the woman was usually married to another man.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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