[shiv-uh l-ree]

noun, plural chiv·al·ries for 6.

the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms.
the rules and customs of medieval knighthood.
the medieval system or institution of knighthood.
a group of knights.
gallant warriors or gentlemen: fair ladies and noble chivalry.
Archaic. a chivalrous act; gallant deed.

Origin of chivalry

1250–1300; Middle English chivalrie < Anglo-French, Old French chevalerie, equivalent to chevalier chevalier + -ie -y3
Related formsun·chiv·al·ry, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for chivalry

courtesy, courage, fairness, valiance, courtliness, politeness

Examples from the Web for chivalry

Contemporary Examples of chivalry

Historical Examples of chivalry

  • Then we are agreed that it is not a matter of sentiment, it is not a matter of chivalry.

    Samantha Among the Brethren, Part 7.

    Josiah Allen's Wife (Marietta Holley)

  • The Southern chivalry howled, and hanged or burned some one in effigy.

    American Notes

    Rudyard Kipling

  • Strange as it may seem, these castles were the birthplaces and homes of chivalry.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • With his usual activity he sprang forward and the scion of chivalry ran.

  • That's a long way from the days of the 'wild geese' and the order of chivalry, isn't it?

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

British Dictionary definitions for chivalry


noun plural -ries

the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, esp courage, honour, justice, and a readiness to help the weak
courteous behaviour, esp towards women
the medieval system and principles of knighthood
knights, noblemen, etc, collectively
Derived Formschivalric, adjective

Word Origin for chivalry

C13: from Old French chevalerie, from chevalier
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

Word Origin and History for chivalry

c.1300, "body or host of knights; knighthood in the feudal social system; bravery in war, warfare as an art," from Old French chevalerie "knighthood, chivalry, nobility, cavalry, art of war," from chevaler "knight," from Medieval Latin caballarius "horseman," from Latin caballus "nag, pack-horse" (see cavalier). From late 14c. as "the nobility as one of the estates of the realm," also as the word for an ethical code emphasizing honor, valor, generosity and courtly manners. Modern use for "social and moral code of medieval feudalism" probably is an 18c. historical revival.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

chivalry in Culture


The methods of training and standards of behavior for knights in the Middle Ages. The code of chivalry emphasized bravery, military skill, generosity in victory, piety, and courtesy to women. (Compare courtly love.)

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