chiv·​al·​rous ˈshi-vəl-rəs How to pronounce chivalrous (audio)
: valiant
chivalrous warriors
: of, relating to, or characteristic of chivalry and knight-errantry
a chivalrous quest
: marked by honor, generosity, and courtesy
appreciated the chivalrous acts of the general
: marked by gracious courtesy and high-minded consideration especially to women
A chivalrous man offered the woman his seat on the crowded bus.
chivalrously adverb
chivalrousness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for chivalrous

civil, polite, courteous, gallant, chivalrous mean observant of the forms required by good breeding.

civil often suggests little more than the avoidance of overt rudeness.

owed the questioner a civil reply

polite commonly implies polish of speech and manners and sometimes suggests an absence of cordiality.

if you can't be pleasant, at least be polite

courteous implies more actively considerate or dignified politeness.

clerks who were unfailingly courteous to customers

gallant and chivalrous imply courteous attentiveness especially to women.

gallant suggests spirited and dashing behavior and ornate expressions of courtesy.

a gallant suitor of the old school

chivalrous suggests high-minded and self-sacrificing behavior.

a chivalrous display of duty

Examples of chivalrous in a Sentence

a kind and chivalrous man still engages in chivalrous behavior, such as holding doors for people
Recent Examples on the Web Given his chivalrous nature, Garnett confined his combativeness during a midweek practice to an emphatic arm swing after beating Bruins center Lauren Betts with a move ending in a layup. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 28 Mar. 2024 That chivalrous act created an unbreakable bond between the couple, even though something always seemed to be pulling them apart: work, relationships with other people, living in opposite locations on the map. Taiia Smart Young, Essence, 14 Feb. 2024 Smith said callers to his show have argued Mosby’s testimony, while damaging, was chivalrous. Emily Opilo, Baltimore Sun, 10 Feb. 2024 His directness, coupled with a vain attempt to save/redeem the drones working the phone lines, comes across as chivalrous in the face of such dishonorable behavior. Peter Debruge, Variety, 10 Jan. 2024 Archie making deep, chivalrous bows, his baby sister Lilibet cuddling the monarch's shins. Stephanie Petit, Peoplemag, 2 June 2023 His father, a member of the now-defunct Liberal Party, was anti-Europe but not aligned with the political right’s position on the issue, was prudish and chivalrous around women yet also a serial adulterer. Hugh Morris, New York Times, 10 Apr. 2023 No longer an imaginary stand-in requirement for chivalrous deeds, this princess can truly become master of her domain. Gene Park, Washington Post, 28 May 2017 And no, Smith wasn’t being chivalrous. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 30 Mar. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chivalrous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English chivalerous, chevalrous, chyvalrous "excelling in warfare, valiant, exemplifying the ideals of chivalry," borrowed from Anglo-French chevalerus, chevalrous (continental Old French chevalerous), from chevalerie "body of knights serving an overlord, chivalry" + -us, -ous -ous

Note: As noted by the Oxford English Dictionary, first edition, chivalrous was apparently obsolescent by the mid-eighteenth century; Samuel Johnson, in his dictionary (1755), has only a citation from Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene (1590) and remarks "a word now out of use." It was revived in the later eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by Romanticism and a renewed interest in the Middle Ages. The pronunciation of this word and chivalry with \sh\ rather than \ch\, as if they were taken from Modern French, presumably arose at that period.

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of chivalrous was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near chivalrous

Cite this Entry

“Chivalrous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


chiv·​al·​rous ˈshiv-əl-rəs How to pronounce chivalrous (audio)
: of or relating to chivalry
: having or showing honor, generosity, and courtesy
: showing special courtesy and regard to women
chivalrously adverb
chivalrousness noun

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