co·​que·​try ˈkō-kə-trē How to pronounce coquetry (audio)
plural coquetries
: 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 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.

Example Sentences

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 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 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.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1656, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of coquetry was circa 1656


Dictionary Entries Near coquetry

Cite this Entry

“Coquetry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


co·​que·​try ˈkō-kə-trē How to pronounce coquetry (audio)
plural coquetries
: the behavior of a coquette
Last Updated: - Updated Did you know?
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