follow Dictionary.com

11 Trending Words of 2014

hetaera

[hi-teer-uh] /hɪˈtɪər ə/
noun, plural hetaerae
[hi-teer-ee] /hɪˈtɪər i/ (Show IPA)
1.
a highly cultured courtesan or concubine, especially in ancient Greece.
2.
any woman who uses her beauty and charm to obtain wealth or social position.
Also, hetaira.
Origin
1810-1820
1810-20; < Greek hetaíra (feminine) companion
Related forms
hetaeric, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for hetaera

hetaera

/hɪˈtɪərə/
noun (pl) -taerae (-ˈtɪəriː), -tairai (-ˈtaɪraɪ)
1.
(esp in ancient Greece) a female prostitute, esp an educated courtesan
Derived Forms
hetaeric, hetairic, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Greek hetaira concubine
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for hetaera
n.

1820, "mistress," from Medieval Latin hetaera, from Greek hetaira "female companion," in Athens opposed to "lawful wife," and thus embracing everything from "concubine" to "courtesan;" fem. of hetairos "comrade, companion," from PIE *swet-aro-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e- (see idiom).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for hetaera

(Female Companion), one of a class of professional independent courtesans of ancient Greece who, besides developing physical beauty, cultivated their minds and talents to a degree far beyond that allowed to the average Attic woman. Usually living fashionably alone, or sometimes two or three together, the hetaerae enjoyed an enviable and respected position of wealth and were protected and taxed by the state. Though they were generally foreigners, slaves, or freedwomen, their freedom was greater than that of the married woman, who was bound to seclusion. That their homes were frequented by married men was not censured by society. They were often hired as entertainers for symposia and family sacrifices. The hetaerae of Corinth and Athens were especially noted for their outstanding physical and cultural accomplishments. Phryne and Lais are historic representatives

Learn more about hetaera with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for hetaera

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for hetaera

10
9
Scrabble Words With Friends