• synonyms


[kawrt-ship, kohrt-]
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  1. the wooing of one person by another.
  2. the period during which such wooing takes place.
  3. solicitation of favors, applause, etc.
  4. Ethology. behavior in animals that occurs before and during mating, often including elaborate displays.
  5. Obsolete. courtly behavior; courtesy; gallantry.
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Origin of courtship

First recorded in 1580–90; court + -ship
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

engagement, pursuit, courting, love, lovemaking, suit, wooing

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British Dictionary definitions for courtship


  1. the act, period, or art of seeking the love of someone with intent to marry
  2. the seeking or soliciting of favours
  3. obsolete courtly behaviour
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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 courtship


1570s, "behavior of a courtier," from court (n.) + -ship. Meaning "paying court to a woman with intention of marriage" is from 1590s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper