from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The practice of acting as, or the custom of having, a cicisbeo; the practice of dangling about women.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The state or conduct of a cicisbeo.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The state or conduct of a cicisbeo.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

cicisbeo +‎ -ism


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  • Some boldly apply the name of “love” to a caprice of a few days, a connection without attachment, passion without affection, the affectations of cicisbeism, a cold usage, a romantic fancy, a taste speedily followed by a distaste.

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • She tempts fate when she carries on her gallantries and her Italian cicisbeism under the eyes of Scone Dacres.

    The American Baron

  • Italy is nothing to this country in cicisbeism; the men and women are ever together, taking snuff, yawning, groaning with ennui, without a syllable to utter,

    Memoirs of the Political and Private Life of James Caulfield, Earl of Charlemont, Knight of St ...

  • There may also have been something very reassuring to Alfieri's apprehensions in the knowledge that he would be dealing, not with an Italian woman, accustomed and almost socially obliged to hold a man in the degrading bonds of cicisbeism, but with a foreigner, the jealously-guarded wife of a sort of legendary ogre, with whom, however much the old fury of love might awaken in him, there could by no possibility be anything beyond the most strictly watched friendship.

    The Countess of Albany

  • November 1991], used in his definition of cicisbeism the word poodle-faker, which, as near as I can make out, is an obscure or archaic Briticism, possibly military slang.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XVIII No 3


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  • The practice of dangling about women? How does one dangle?

    July 28, 2016

  • Righto, we need a volunteer from the audience.

    July 29, 2016

  • Pronounced chich-iss-BEE-ism. It could serve as an onomatopoetic word for a sneeze.

    The definition calls for some background:

    cicisbeo – 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.

    dangle – To hang loosely; be suspended so as to be swayed be the wind or any slight force.

    Hence To dance attendance; hover longingly or importunately, as for notice or favors: used of persons, with about or after: as, to dangle about a woman; to dangle after a great man.

    In Italy all’s in a tangle

    As gallantry’s got a new angle.

    It makes a wee schism

    In cicisbeism

    As men become objects of dangle.

    March 9, 2018