[kawrt, kohrt]


verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to seek another's love; woo.
(of animals) to engage in certain species-specific behaviors in order to attract individuals of the opposite sex for mating.


    hold court,
    1. to have a formal assembly of a judicial tribunal or one held by a sovereign.
    2. to be surrounded by one's disciples or admirers, giving advice, exchanging gossip, receiving compliments, etc.
    out of court,
    1. without a legal hearing; privately: The case will be settled out of court.
    2. out of the question; undeserving of discussion: This wild scheme is entirely out of court.

Origin of court

1125–75; Middle English co(u)rt < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin cohort- (stem of cohors) farmyard; see cohort
Related formsout·court, verb (used with object)un·court·ed, adjectiveun·court·ing, adjectivewell-court·ed, adjective
Can be confusedcaught court cot Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for courting

Contemporary Examples of courting

Historical Examples of courting

  • She was beginning to feel panicky; he was courting distress.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • I was forced to carry off this girl, because I had no other means of courting her.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • And what I was trying to do for you when we met in Rouen was—was courting you.

  • The memory of her own courting days came back upon her, a rare experience!

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • They say you have been courting my princess terribly these last few days?

    A Hero of Our Time

    M. Y. Lermontov

British Dictionary definitions for courting



an area of ground wholly or partly surrounded by walls or buildings
British (capital when part of a name)
  1. a block of flatsSelwyn Court
  2. a mansion or country house
  3. a short street, sometimes closed at one end
a space inside a building, sometimes surrounded with galleries
  1. the residence, retinues, or household of a sovereign or nobleman
  2. (as modifier)a court ball
a sovereign or prince and his retinue, advisers, etc
any formal assembly, reception, etc, held by a sovereign or nobleman with his courtiers
homage, flattering attention, or amorous approaches (esp in the phrase pay court to someone)
  1. an authority having power to adjudicate in civil, criminal, military, or ecclesiastical matters
  2. the regular sitting of such a judicial authority
  3. the room or building in which such a tribunal sits
  1. a marked outdoor or enclosed area used for any of various ball games, such as tennis, squash, etc
  2. a marked section of such an areathe service court
  1. the board of directors or council of a corporation, company, etc
  2. mainly Britishthe supreme council of some universities
a branch of any of several friendly societies
go to court to take legal action
hold court to preside over admirers, attendants, etc
out of court
  1. without a trial or legal casethe case was settled out of court
  2. too unimportant for consideration
  3. Britishso as to ridicule completely (in the phrase laugh out of court)
the ball is in your court you are obliged to make the next move


to attempt to gain the love of (someone); woo
(tr) to pay attention to (someone) in order to gain favour
(tr) to try to obtain (fame, honour, etc)
(tr) to invite, usually foolishly, as by taking risksto court disaster
old-fashioned to be conducting a serious emotional relationship usually leading to marriage

Word Origin for court

C12: from Old French, from Latin cohors cohort



Margaret (née Smith). born 1942, Australian tennis player, winner of a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles: Australian Open champion 1960–66, 1969–71, and 1973; US Open champion 1962, 1965, 1969–70, and 1973; Wimbledon champion 1963, 1965, and 1970; French Open champion 1962, 1965, 1969–70, and 1973
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 courting



late 12c., from Old French cort (11c., Modern French cour) "king's court, princely residence," from Latin cortem, accusative of cors (earlier cohors) "enclosed yard," and by extension (and perhaps by association with curia "sovereign's assembly"), "those assembled in the yard; company, cohort," from com- "together" (see com-) + stem hort- related to hortus "garden, plot of ground" (see yard (n.1)). Sporting sense is from 1510s, originally of tennis. Legal meaning is from late 13c. (early assemblies for justice were overseen by the sovereign personally).



"woo, offer homage," as one does at court, 1570s; see court (n.). Related: Courted; courting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with courting


see ball's in your court; day in court; friend in court; hold court; kangaroo court; laugh out of court; pay court to.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.