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.
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)