co·​que·​try | \ ˈkō-kə-trē How to pronounce coquetry (audio) , kō-ˈke-trē \
plural coquetries

Definition of coquetry

: a flirtatious act or attitude

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The rooster's cocky attitude has given him a reputation for arrogance and promiscuity. It has also given English several terms for people whose behavior is reminiscent of that strutting barnyard fowl. The noun coquet comes from French, where it is a diminutive of coq, the French word for rooster. Originally, in the 1600s, English speakers used coquet to describe men who indulged in trifling flirtations. Today coquet can refer to male or female flirts (though coquette, the French feminine form, is more commonly used for flirtatious women), and coquetry can refer to flirtation by men or women.

Examples of coquetry in a Sentence

her compulsive coquetry at parties was embarrassing for her husband
Recent Examples on the Web Too ashamed to start a romance with a social inferior, Diana nevertheless spitefully scuttles her underlings’ relationship and harasses Teodoro with on-again, off-again coquetry. Celia Wren, Washington Post, 2 Nov. 2020

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

First Known Use of coquetry

circa 1656, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of coquetry was circa 1656

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Cite this Entry

“Coquetry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for coquetry



English Language Learners Definition of coquetry

: the behavior of a coquette


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