Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Italy, since the seventeenth century, the name given to a professed gallant and attendant of a married woman; one who dangles about women.
- n. A bow of silk or ribbon with long pendent ends attached to a walking-stick, the hilt of a sword, or the handle of a fan.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A professed admirer of a married woman; a dangler about women.
- n. obsolete A knot of silk or ribbon attached to a fan, walking stick, etc.
- Italian cicisbeo (Wiktionary)
“The cicisbeo is a bony cartilaginous gentleman, fixt perpendicularly on his saddle like a telegraph-pole.”
“According to the _Vocab. della Crusca_, "cicisbeo" is an inversion of "bel cece," beautiful chick”
“As a consequence we have the 'cicisbeo', and in Italy as in France the idea that our nobles are the sons of their nominal fathers is a purely conventional one.”
“How far this political consideration may have weighed against the jealous and vindictive temper of the Italians, I will not pretend to judge: but, certain it is, every married lady in this country has her cicisbeo, or servente, who attends her every where, and on all occasions; and upon whose privileges the husband dares not encroach, without incurring the censure and ridicule of the whole community.”
“His account of the cicisbeo and his duties, whether in Nice, Florence, or Rome, is certainly one of the most interesting that we have.”
“The husband and the cicisbeo live together as sworn brothers; and the wife and the mistress embrace each other with marks of the warmest affection.”
“Here you may perceive the noblesse stretched in pairs upon logs of wood, like so many seals upon the rocks by moon-light, each dame with her cicisbeo: for, you must understand, this Italian fashion prevails at Nice among all ranks of people; and there is not such a passion as jealousy known.”
“Before Smollett and his almost contemporary travel correspondent, Samuel Sharp, it would probably be hard to find any mention of the cicisbeo in England, though the word was consecrated by Sheridan a few years later.”
“For my part, I would rather be condemned for life to the gallies, than exercise the office of a cicisbeo, exposed to the intolerable caprices and dangerous resentment of an Italian virago.”
“After marriage there is a mutual accommodation system suggesting the cicisbeo or mariage à trois school; hence we read that wives, like the much-maligned Xantippe, were borrowed and lent, and that not fulfilling the promise of a loan is punishable by heavy damages.”
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