coquetry

noun

co·​que·​try ˈkō-kə-trē How to pronounce coquetry (audio)
kō-ˈke-trē
plural coquetries
: a flirtatious act or attitude

Did you know?

The rooster’s cocky attitude has given him a reputation for arrogance and promiscuity. It has also given the English language several terms for people whose behavior is reminiscent of that strutting barnyard fowl. Coquetry comes to us from the French word coquetterie, which means “flirtation.” The related noun coquet also 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, you likely won’t hear coquet used only to refer to men. Coquet can also be used interchangeably with coquette (“a flirtatious woman”), and coquetry refers to flirtation regardless of a person’s gender identity.

Examples of coquetry in a Sentence

the new boss was all business and put a stop to the banter, practical joking, and coquetry in the office
Recent Examples on the Web The quick coquetry, captured by webcams pointed at the nest, made for lighthearted jokes and speculative gossip on social media, as fans of the birds reveled in the mystery of the latest developments and poked fun at Annie’s apparent promiscuity, comparing the turn of events to a TV drama. Andres Picon, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Apr. 2022 The three-inch heels that the women wear when performing the dance are visible at the bottom of the skirt—a demure bit of coquetry. Fernanda Pérez Sánchez, Vogue, 8 Aug. 2022 In other words, the most dizzying and most consequential storyline of Michigan’s offseason — Harbaugh’s coquetry with the Minnesota Vikings notwithstanding — is going to linger a while longer. Michael Cohen, Detroit Free Press, 27 July 2022 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'coquetry.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1656, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of coquetry was circa 1656

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Dictionary Entries Near coquetry

Cite this Entry

“Coquetry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coquetry. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

coquetry

noun
co·​que·​try ˈkō-kə-trē How to pronounce coquetry (audio)
kō-ˈke-trē
plural coquetries
: the behavior of a coquette
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