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[kawr-tee-er, kohr-] /ˈkɔr ti ər, ˈkoʊr-/
a person who is often in attendance at the court of a king or other royal personage.
a person who seeks favor by flattery, charm, etc.
Origin of courtier
1250-1300; Middle English courteour < Anglo-French courte(i)our, equivalent to Old French cortoy(er) to attend at court (derivative of court court) + Anglo-French -our < Latin -ōr- -or2; suffix later conformed to -ier1
Related forms
undercourtier, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for courtier
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Poggio had the art of making enemies, though he was a courtier by profession and had been secretary to eight Popes.

    The Great Book-Collectors Charles Isaac Elton and Mary Augusta Elton
  • The quick step of Fonseca interrupted the courtier's reverie.

    Calderon The Courtier Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • A citizen is to a woman who has never left her native province what a courtier is to a woman born and bred in town.

  • "You were intended for a courtier, Doctor," said Sir Horace, smiling.

    The Fortunes Of Glencore Charles James Lever
  • He has two qualities invaluable to the courtier, a certain dash and a certain subtlety, and above all he is bon viveur.

    Human Animals Frank Hamel
  • She bit her nether lip in annoyance at a courtier so ill-prepared for their adventure.

    Gilian The Dreamer Neil Munro
  • He was a glorious horse, but neither groom nor courtier could handle him.

    Our Standard-Bearer Oliver Optic
  • Side by side with the ideal of the courtier had arisen the ideal of the cultured lady.

    John Lyly John Dover Wilson
  • And her tone told the courtier that his words had been lost upon the morning air.

    Love-at-Arms Raphael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for courtier


an attendant at a court
a person who seeks favour in an ingratiating manner
Word Origin
C13: from Anglo-French courteour (unattested), from Old French corteier to attend at court
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
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Word Origin and History for courtier

early 13c., from Anglo-French *corteour, from Old French cortoiier "to be at court, live at court" (see court (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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