Definitions

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

  • n. A woman prostitute, especially one whose clients are members of a royal court or men of high social standing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A woman of a royal or noble court.
  • n. The mistress of a royal or noble.
  • n. A prostitute, especially one with high-status or wealthy clients

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A woman who prostitutes herself for hire; a prostitute; a harlot.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See courtezan, courtezanship.

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

  • n. a woman who cohabits with an important man

Etymologies

French courtisane, from Old French, from Old Italian cortigiana, feminine of cortigiano, courtier, from corte, court, from Latin cohors, cohort-; see gher-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French courtisane, from Italian cortigiana, feminine of cortigiano ‘courtier’, from corte ‘court’. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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.

  • Rodrigio's wife was this.

    June 19, 2012

  • Cortigiano (man): a courtier
    Cortigiana (woman): a trollop.

    June 13, 2008