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[hi-teer-uh] /hɪˈtɪər ə/
noun, plural hetaerae
[hi-teer-ee] /hɪˈtɪər i/ (Show IPA)
a highly cultured courtesan or concubine, especially in ancient Greece.
any woman who uses her beauty and charm to obtain wealth or social position.
Also, hetaira.
Origin of hetaera
First recorded in 1810-20, hetaera is from the Greek word hetaíra (feminine) companion
Related forms
hetaeric, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hetaerae
Historical Examples
  • The only women who were, to some extent, appreciated for their own sakes, were the Greek hetaerae.

British Dictionary definitions for hetaerae


noun (pl) -taerae (-ˈtɪəriː), -tairai (-ˈtaɪraɪ)
(esp in ancient Greece) a female prostitute, esp an educated courtesan
Derived Forms
hetaeric, hetairic, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Greek hetaira concubine
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 hetaerae



1820, "mistress," from Medieval Latin hetaera, from Greek hetaira "female companion," in Athens opposed to "lawful wife," and thus embracing everything from "concubine" to "courtesan;" fem. of hetairos "comrade, companion," from PIE *swet-aro-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e- (see idiom).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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