Definition of chivalry
1 : mounted men-at-arms … the eleven kings with their chivalry never turned back … — Thomas Malory
2 archaic a : martial (see martial 1) valorb : 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
chivalry was our Word of the Day on 01/25/2007. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of chivalry in a Sentence
the knight's code of chivalry
He paid her fare as an act of chivalry.
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."
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
Definition of chivalry for Students
1 : the system, spirit, ways, or customs of knighthood
2 : very honorable and courteous behavior
Seen and Heard
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