or cour·te·zan

[ 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for courtesan

British Dictionary definitions for courtesan



/ (ˌkɔːtɪˈzæn) /


(esp formerly) a prostitute, or the mistress of a man of rank

Word Origin for courtesan

C16: from Old French courtisane, from Italian cortigiana female courtier, from cortigiano courtier, from corte court
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 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