courtly love

  1. a highly stylized code of behavior popular chiefly from the 12th to the 14th century that prescribed the rules of conduct between lovers, advocating idealized but illicit love, and which fostered an extensive medieval literature based on this tradition.

Origin of courtly love

First recorded in 1895–1900

Words Nearby courtly love Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use courtly love in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for courtly love

courtly love

  1. a tradition represented in Western European literature between the 12th and the 14th centuries, idealizing love between a knight and a revered (usually married) lady

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

Cultural definitions for courtly love

courtly love

A set of attitudes toward love that were strong in the Middle Ages. According to the ideal of courtly love, a knight or nobleman worshiped a woman of high birth, and his love for her inspired him to do great things on the battlefield and elsewhere. There was usually no physical relationship or marriage between them, however; the woman was usually married to another man.

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.