Definition of chivalry in English:



mass noun
  • 1The medieval knightly system with its religious, moral, and social code.

    ‘the age of chivalry’
    • ‘Many such characters desperately need a ‘code’ to live by, like the social code of chivalry for Don Quixote.’
    • ‘Saladin, as in most of the medieval chronicles, represents chivalry.’
    • ‘Once again, chivalry and morals, my friends, will take you places.’
    • ‘It speaks of jousts, tournaments, wizards, falconry, enchantresses, damsels in distress, wars, quests, and the code of chivalry.’
    • ‘The festival of music, dance, martial arts and medieval chivalry will showcase a variety of costumes, colour and culture.’
    • ‘He was also encouraged to display the virtues of chivalry, a code of conduct created by the clergy to curb the brutality of this order of knights.’
    • ‘Like many before and since, Chandler saw the detective as embodying the medieval conception of chivalry.’
    • ‘During the Middle Ages, chivalry was a code of brave and courteous conduct for knights.’
    • ‘Only the nobility participated in warfare, using the symbol of medieval chivalry, the chariot.’
    • ‘This is reinforced by the final exchange between Gawain and the Green Knight where the poet shows the way he feels feudalism should work - by banishing courtly love and women from the code of chivalry.’
    • ‘They will consider different interpretations of the famous clash of August 22nd, 1485, within the broader context of medieval warfare and chivalry.’
    • ‘For a moment, I felt like I had been transported back in time, into a medieval world of chivalry and magic.’
    • ‘Joan united ‘to her maidenly virtues the martial courage and ardor of the noblest knights of chivalry,’ the author argued.’
    • ‘However, Woo does not celebrate this violence, but rather uses it to represent a nostalgia for a lost code of honor and chivalry that he sees as necessary for human survival.’
    • ‘The code of chivalry that embodied the knightly ideals - honor, generosity and courtesy - became the code of honor of the gentleman, and the foundation of fencing etiquette.’
    • ‘A code of behavior, chivalry, evolved from these feudal contests of skill.’
    • ‘She was impressed by his attention to the codes of chivalry.’
    • ‘Orders of chivalry had their origins in the religious orders of the Medieval Church, and in particular those created in the Holy Land during the crusades.’
    • ‘Who does not remember the eccentric hero who chose to live in the medieval world of chivalry and thought of himself as a knight in shining armour?’
    • ‘Later medieval chivalry has been criticized for being decadent and other-worldly, yet it never lost touch with the changing military dimensions of war nor was blind to its bloody realities.’
    • ‘It was at this court, and at her daughter Marie's in Champagne, that the codes of chivalry and of courtly love were established, in close contact with the great ladies.’
    1. 1.1 The combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, namely courage, honour, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak.
      ‘tales of chivalry and knightly deeds’
      • ‘This is the man whom folklorists and historians - by unimaginable mental and moral gymnastics - have endowed with qualities of quixotic chivalry, and set up as a national hero.’
      • ‘Manuals of chivalry exhorted the ideal man of arms to be temperate to preserve the fighting edge.’
      • ‘The article stressed the explicit Catholicity of Christian chivalry, comparing the ideals that bound knights to service with the characteristic vows of Catholic monastic life.’
      • ‘It was the idea of chivalry and courage that appealed.’
      • ‘He was adored by his men, not least for his courage, chivalry and handsome appearance.’
      • ‘The war was fought with heavy loss of life and notable courage and chivalry on both sides.’
      • ‘A court dealing with his appeal over an earlier confrontation heard that from a young age he had been regaled with stories of daring deeds, courage and chivalry in the SAS, told by his father, Tony.’
      • ‘In that imaginary reality what drives people to act in one way or another is ideas of honour, chivalry, nobility and heroism.’
      • ‘More resonantly, Joan, due to her chastity, courage, chivalry, piety and intelligence, personified an exceptional female figurehead.’
      • ‘I figure that chivalry, honour, friendship and, of course, romance are all part of film noir as is the inner darkness of the central character - usually - and certainly the villains.’
      • ‘What is the big idea behind chivalry or expecting a man to do things that might seem unnatural to him?’
      • ‘The fact that you were a woman did not absolve you from keeping to the ideals of chivalry, in times of crisis and in your ordinary life.’
      • ‘Louis IX of France, canonized after his death, was in his lifetime a model of chivalry, justice, and piety for western Christendom, at once a rival and an exemplar to the English king.’
      • ‘All the courageous deeds and tales of chivalry that they had so eagerly talked about were so far away now, like a faint memory just out of reach.’
      • ‘The full flowering of the ideals of knighthood and chivalry is found in poetry in the high Middle Ages.’
      • ‘There were the Knights of the Round Table, vowed to the highest ideals of chivalry, and the greatest of them, Sir Lancelot, who, of course, has a tragic love affair with the Queen.’
      • ‘With the absence of humility, yet his important role in society and his ideals of chivalry, Beowulf was the definition of a hero in his own time.’
      • ‘However, Brooks' point is that ambition crowds out other cultivated qualities, such as chivalry.’
      • ‘Loyalty, honesty, frankness, gratitude, chivalry, magnanimity - these are the hallmarks of the good friend, the good husband and father, the nice guy we all hope our daughters will marry.’
      • ‘The scale rewards honor, chivalry and courage, but also deducts for blatant foolishness and sheer idiocy.’
      knight errantry, the knightly code, knighthood, courtly manners, knightliness, courtliness, nobility, magnanimity
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    2. 1.2 Courteous behaviour, especially that of a man towards women.
      ‘he still retained a sense of chivalry towards women’
      • ‘Yet in spite of the fanatical beliefs of both sides, there were examples of restraint and even of chivalry in the Crusades.’
      • ‘He seemed, if not a figure of chivalry, the perfect gentleman, with a full head of silver-streaked hair, not quite as leonine as the mane on tonight's Lohengrin but wholly admirable.’
      • ‘His wit was quick and always kept his friends laughing; he had a genuine heart and sense of chivalry.’
      • ‘So forget Stepford; come to Brooklyn, where both civilization and chivalry - the good kind - are lively and well.’
      • ‘Imagine living in a peaceful world of chivalry, manners, and intelligence that was the 1800's.’
      • ‘She wasn't in the mood for Danny's misplaced sense of chivalry right now.’
      • ‘Their sons are sometimes not models of chivalry.’
      • ‘Just an after thought, with chivalry being dead, how can the perfect man still exist?’
      • ‘Society's double standards tend to help female murderers in the courtroom; in the Deep South, where most of America's executions take place, there is almost a chivalry towards women.’
      • ‘For herself, Marion thought his dark brown eyes were rather puppy-dog and that he had a floppy, confused look, despite all his stiff, correct behaviour and chivalry.’
      • ‘Little Trunk wanted to thank Hugh for his unforgotten chivalry toward her.’
      • ‘The Druze are known for their generosity and are guided by a sense of chivalry and honor.’
      • ‘But this romanticized image with gentlemanly behavior and chivalry was largely devised by Victorian scholars in the 19th century.’
      • ‘The most dramatic illustrations of the lack of chivalry toward black and other minority women comes from examining who gets sentenced to prison.’
      • ‘He'd seen his friend dismiss a flirtatious girl with gentle chivalry and no second thoughts, and he'd seen the occasional sidelong glances the brunet had sent his way.’
      • ‘Oh well, it's not like I expected chivalry and flattery.’
      • ‘Shivering in their thin white gowns, the brides draped over their bare shoulders the dark suit jackets handed over by their husbands - on this one day, at least, models of chivalry.’
      • ‘Sheriffe intervened out of a misplaced sense of chivalry, said Mr Sharpe.’
      • ‘And here I thought you would hold it out for me, considering the whole chivalry thing.’
      • ‘He never started a fight, and he kept to the laws of chivalry, common thief though he was.’
      gallantry, gentlemanliness, thoughtfulness, attentiveness, consideration, considerateness
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  • 2archaic Knights, noblemen, and horsemen collectively.

    ‘I fought against the cream of French chivalry’


Middle English: from Old French chevalerie, from medieval Latin caballerius, for late Latin caballarius ‘horseman’ (see chevalier).