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