[ hi-teer-uh ]
/ hɪˈtɪər ə /

noun, plural he·tae·rae [hi-teer-ee] /hɪˈtɪər i/.

a highly cultured courtesan or concubine, especially in ancient Greece.
any woman who uses her beauty and charm to obtain wealth or social position.
Also hetaira.

Origin of hetaera

First recorded in 1810–20, hetaera is from the Greek word hetaíra (feminine) companion
Related formshe·tae·ric, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hetaerae

  • The only women who were, to some extent, appreciated for their own sakes, were the Greek hetaerae.

British Dictionary definitions for hetaerae


hetaira (hɪˈtaɪrə)

/ (hɪˈtɪərə) /

noun plural -taerae (-ˈtɪəriː) or -tairai (-ˈtaɪraɪ)

(esp in ancient Greece) a female prostitute, esp an educated courtesan
Derived Formshetaeric or hetairic, adjective

Word Origin for hetaera

C19: from Greek hetaira concubine
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 hetaerae



1820, "mistress," from Medieval Latin hetaera, from Greek hetaira "female companion," in Athens opposed to "lawful wife," and thus embracing everything from "concubine" to "courtesan;" fem. of hetairos "comrade, companion," from PIE *swet-aro-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e- (see idiom).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper