Definitions

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

  • n. An ancient Greek courtesan or concubine, especially one of a special class of cultivated female companions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A mistress, especially a highly cultivated courtesan in ancient Greece.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A female paramour; a mistress, concubine, or harlot.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In ancient Greece, a woman, particularly a slave or a foreigner, devoted to public or private entertainment, making a profession of flute-playing, dancing, etc., and in some cases rising to high consideration for learning, talents, and the social arts; hence, a courtezan; an avowed concubine or female paramour. At Athens only daughters of full citizens could become, under the law, wives of citizens; thus, Aspasia of Miletus, the accomplished companion of Pericles, was, as a foreigner, classed as a hetæra. Also written hetaira, plural hetairai.

Etymologies

Greek hetaira, feminine of hetairos, companion; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek ἑταίρα (hetaira), feminine of ἑταῖρος (hetairos, "companion") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Roman hetaera, relief, around 2nd century — head is missing.

    Prostitution: Story of the Oldest Profession on Earth

  • Pericles' celebrated hetaera, Aspasia, came from Miletos.

    Miletos Tristesse

  • The godlike Xenocrates showed this by the firmness of his reason, who was declared by the famous hetaera Phryne to be a statue and not a man, when all her blandishments could not shake his resolve, as Valerius Maximus relates at length.

    The Love of Books : The Philobiblon of Richard de Bury

  • He owned a shield factory and was wealthy enough to have a hetaera, a high-class prostitute, if that's what Aspasia was.

    Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine

  • A great hetaera never proposes a contract and usually won't listen if a man is bold enough to propose one himself.

    Time Enough For Love

  • You see, a friend of mine, wife of another friend and they were both close to me-as a special gift she introduced me to another hetaera, a great beauty, and arranged for me a holiday with her-paid for by my friends; they could afford it, she is wealthy.

    Time Enough For Love

  • I'm not speaking of technique; I suspect that any high-priced hetaera in New Rome is as skilled as any famous courtesan in history.

    Time Enough For Love

  • Not a slut, but what is a hetaera; and not a hetaera, but what is well-nigh Kypris herself!

    Yama: the pit

  • In Xenophon. [28] he goes with a friend to a hetaera, who is sitting as a model for a painter, and instructs her in the art of enticing men.

    Christian Ethics. Volume I.���History of Ethics.

  • Aspasia took advantage of this and became a hetaera, or really high class hooker.

    Cracked: All Posts

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.