courtesan

play
noun cour·te·san \ˈkȯr-tə-zən, -ˌzan also ˈkər-, -ˌzän; especially British ˌkȯr-tə-ˈzan\

Definition of courtesan

  1. :  a prostitute with a courtly, wealthy, or upper-class clientele

Examples of courtesan in a Sentence

  1. the protagonist of the novel is a composite of several real-life courtesans who plied their trade among the decadent aristocracy

Recent Examples of courtesan from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of courtesan

Middle French courtisane, from northern Italian dialect form of Italian cortigiana woman courtier, feminine of cortigiano courtier, from corte court, from Latin cohort-, cohors —see 1court


First Known Use: 1533


COURTESAN Defined for English Language Learners

courtesan

play
noun

Definition of courtesan for English Language Learners

  • : a woman who has sex with rich or important men in exchange for money : a prostitute who has sex with wealthy and powerful men



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up courtesan? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a lively discussion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • istock-refers-to-this-as-a-tumble-of-strawberries-which-sounded-pretty-nice-to-us
  • Which is a synonym of garner?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!