noun chiv·al·ry \ ˈshi-vəl-rē \
Updated on: 21 Feb 2018

Definition of chivalry

plural chivalries
1 : mounted men-at-arms
  • … the eleven kings with their chivalry never turned back …
  • —Thomas Malory
2 archaic
a : martial (see martial 1) valor
b : knightly skill
3 : gallant or distinguished gentlemen
  • … Belgium's capital had gathered then her beauty and her chivalry
  • —Lord Byron
4 : the system, spirit, or customs of medieval knighthood
  • but Lancelot on him urged all the devisings of their chivalry
  • —Alfred Tennyson
5 : the qualities of the ideal knight : chivalrous conduct
  • chivalry demanded of him that he be conspicuous through his gallant, courteous, and generous behavior
  • —H. W. Van Loon

Examples of chivalry in a Sentence

  1. the knight's code of chivalry

  2. He paid her fare as an act of chivalry.

Recent Examples of chivalry from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chivalry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

In days of old when knights were bold, Anglo-French speakers used the word chevaler (an ancestor of our word chevalier) for a knight or horseman. By the 14th century, English speakers had adopted the slightly modified spelling "chivalry" to describe their own well-armored, mounted warriors. Nowadays, when we say that chivalry is not dead, we are alluding to the high standard of character and conduct typically associated with gallant knights. If you trace "chevaler" back to Late Latin, you'll find that it derives from "caballarius," which is also the ancestor of another term for a daring medieval gentleman-at-arms: "cavalier."

Origin and Etymology of chivalry

Middle English chivalrie, from Anglo-French chevalerie, from chevaler knight — more at chevalier

CHIVALRY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of chivalry for English Language Learners

  • : the system of values (such as loyalty and honor) that knights in the Middle Ages were expected to follow

  • : an honorable and polite way of behaving especially toward women

CHIVALRY Defined for Kids


noun chiv·al·ry \ ˈshi-vəl-rē \

Definition of chivalry for Students

1 : the system, spirit, ways, or customs of knighthood
2 : very honorable and courteous behavior

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