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[kawr-tuh-zuh n, kohr-, kur-] /ˈkɔr tə zən, ˈkoʊr-, ˈkɜr-/
a prostitute or paramour, especially one associating with noblemen or men of wealth.
Also, courtezan.
Origin of courtesan
1540-50; < Middle French courtisane < Italian cortigiana, literally, woman of the court, derivative of corte court Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for courtesan
  • Besides, she was already twenty, and twenty means old age for a courtesan.
  • On the left, an uncultured yet gentle boatman helps a courtesan onto a boat to take her to an appointment.
  • Even more shocking was the frank honesty of the courtesan: her boldness-not nudity-offended.
British Dictionary definitions for courtesan


(esp formerly) a prostitute, or the mistress of a man of rank
Word Origin
C16: from Old French courtisane, from Italian cortigiana female courtier, from cortigiano courtier, from cortecourt
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for courtesan

early 15c., from Middle French courtisane, from Italian cortigiana "prostitute," literally "woman of the court," fem. of cortigiano "one attached to a court," from corte "court," from Latin cortem (see court (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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