Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A gallant or chivalrous man, especially one serving as escort to a woman of high social position; a gentleman.
  • n. A mounted soldier; a knight.
  • n. A supporter of Charles I of England in his struggles against Parliament. Also called Royalist.
  • adj. Showing arrogant or offhand disregard; dismissive: a cavalier attitude toward the suffering of others.
  • adj. Carefree and nonchalant; jaunty.
  • adj. Of or relating to a group of 17th-century English poets associated with the court of Charles I.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not caring enough about something important.
  • adj. High-spirited.
  • adj. Supercilious; haughty; disdainful; curt; brusque.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to the party of King Charles I.
  • n. A military man serving on horse.
  • n. A sprightly, military man; hence, a gallant.
  • n. One of the court party in the time of King Charles I, as contrasted with a Roundhead or an adherent of Parliament.
  • n. A work of more than ordinary height, rising from the level ground of a bastion, etc., and overlooking surrounding parts.
  • n. A well mannered man; a gentleman.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. offhand; unceremonious; gay; easy; frank. Opposed to serious.
  • adj. High-spirited.
  • adj. Supercilious; haughty; disdainful; curt; brusque.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to the party of King Charles I.
  • n. A military man serving on horseback; a knight.
  • n. A gay, sprightly, military man; hence, a gallant.
  • n. One of the court party in the time of king Charles I. as contrasted with a Roundhead or an adherent of Parliament.
  • n. A work of more than ordinary height, rising from the level ground of a bastion, etc., and overlooking surrounding parts.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A horseman, especially an armed horseman; a knight.
  • n.
  • n. One who has the spirit or bearing of a knight; especially, a bold, reckless, and gay fellow.
  • n. [capitalized] The appellation given to the partizans of Charles I. of England in his contest with Parliament.
  • n. During some years they were designated as Cavaliers and Roundheads. They were subsequently called Tories and Whigs.
  • n. A man attending on or escorting a woman, or acting as her partner in dancing; a gallant; a beau.
  • n. In medieval fortification, a mound defended by walls and the like, raised so as to command the neighboring ramparts; hence, in modern fort., a raised work commonly situated within the bastion, but sometimes placed in the gorges, or on the middle of the curtain.
  • n. In the manège, one who understands horse-manship; a skilled or practised rider.
  • Knightly; brave; warlike.
  • Gay; sprightly; easy; offhand; frank; careless.
  • Haughty; disdainful; supercilious: as, a rude and cavalier answer.
  • [capitalized] Belonging or relating to the party of Charles I. of England.
  • To act as a cavalier; ape the manners of a cavalier; carry one's self in a disdainful or high-handed fashion: sometimes followed by it: as, to try to cavalier it over one's associates.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a royalist supporter of Charles I during the English Civil War
  • adj. given to haughty disregard of others
  • n. a gallant or courtly gentleman

Etymologies

French, horseman, from Old Italian cavaliere, from Late Latin caballārius, from Latin caballus, horse.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1589, from Middle French cavalier 'horseman', from Old Italian cavaliere ("mounted soldier, knight"),[2] from Old Provençal cavalier, from Late Latin caballārius ("horseman"), from Latin caballus ("horse"), from Gaulish caballos 'nag', variant of cabillos (compare Welsh ceffyl, Breton kefel, Irish capall), akin to German (Swabish) Kōb 'nag' and Old Church Slavonic kobyla 'mare'. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The "I have no life so I sit on IRC 24 hours a day" award goes to: cavalier (cav, cavalier_)

    The Lamer Cronicles Issue #1 by Prostrate Breath

  • Although it originally had connotations of being gallant, in the context of the revolution the term cavalier would come to be used by the opponents of the king as a derogatory term for anyone who acted in an aristocratic or haughty manner.

    The Pawprints of History

  • Zau al-Makan thanked him therefor, and the slogan arose and the sabre was drawn; but, as things stood thus, behold, there came forth a cavalier from the ranks of Roum; and, as he drew near, they saw that he was mounted on a slow paced she mule, fleeing with her master from the shock of swords.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Assuredly the Dean has a purse, and a tolerably well-filled one; and, assuredly, the Archbishop, on departing from an inn, not only settles his reckoning, but leaves something handsome for the servants, and does not say that he is forbidden by the gospel to pay for what he has eaten, or the trouble he has given, as a certain Spanish cavalier said he was forbidden by the statutes of chivalry.

    The Romany Rye

  • Assuredly the Dean has a purse, and a tolerably well-filled one; and, assuredly, the Archbishop, on departing from an inn, not only settles his reckoning, but leaves something handsome for the servants, and does not say that he is forbidden by the Gospel to pay for what he has eaten, or the trouble he has given, as a certain Spanish cavalier said he was forbidden by the statutes of chivalry.

    The Romany Rye A Sequel to 'Lavengro'

  • And its basketball team's approach to winning truly was cavalier, which is why LeBron James shouldn't be taking heat for going to the Heat.

    Jacob Heilbrunn: The Collapse of Cleveland: Steinbrenner, Pekar, and James

  • Drawing on his experience of European siegecraft, he proposed that they construct a “siege engine” called a cavalier.

    Champlain's Dream

  • Beneath the veneer of a cavalier was a student of warfare, a firm disciplinarian, a realist who schooled his officers and men in drills and tactics.

    Cavalryman of the Lost Cause

  • The cavalier was a light-built fellow, with good-humoured sun-burnt features, a shrewd and lively black eye, and a head covered with a crop of close curly black hair, and surmounted with a turf-coloured caubeen, in the pack - thread band of which was stuck a short pipe, which had evidently seen much service.

    The Purcell Papers

  • She was quick enough to notice that her clothing was not quite according to London fashions; but if she were not as gaily dressed as the ladies who stared at her, she had the comforting thought that her cavalier was the best-dressed and handsomest man that walked along Chepe that September day.

    Sea-Dogs All! A Tale of Forest and Sea

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I like the way this word was used in Juno:

    Juno MacGuff: Anyway dude, I'm telling you I'm pregnant and you're acting shockingly cavalier.

    November 29, 2009

  • November 10, 2007

  • This has the same root as cavalry, and chivalry.

    November 2, 2007

  • November 2, 2007

  • Contronymic in the sense: arrogant vs. courtly, amenable.

    January 31, 2007