Definition of chivalry in English:



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

    ‘the age of chivalry’
    • ‘Joan united ‘to her maidenly virtues the martial courage and ardor of the noblest knights of chivalry,’ the author argued.’
    • ‘For a moment, I felt like I had been transported back in time, into a medieval world of chivalry and magic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It speaks of jousts, tournaments, wizards, falconry, enchantresses, damsels in distress, wars, quests, and the code 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.’
    • ‘Like many before and since, Chandler saw the detective as embodying the medieval conception of chivalry.’
    • ‘They will consider different interpretations of the famous clash of August 22nd, 1485, within the broader context of medieval warfare and chivalry.’
    • ‘Saladin, as in most of the medieval chronicles, represents chivalry.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Many such characters desperately need a ‘code’ to live by, like the social code of chivalry for Don Quixote.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She was impressed by his attention to the codes of chivalry.’
    • ‘During the Middle Ages, chivalry was a code of brave and courteous conduct for knights.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A code of behavior, chivalry, evolved from these feudal contests of skill.’
    • ‘Once again, chivalry and morals, my friends, will take you places.’
    • ‘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 festival of music, dance, martial arts and medieval chivalry will showcase a variety of costumes, colour and culture.’
    • ‘Only the nobility participated in warfare, using the symbol of medieval chivalry, the chariot.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1The 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’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘The scale rewards honor, chivalry and courage, but also deducts for blatant foolishness and sheer idiocy.’
      • ‘More resonantly, Joan, due to her chastity, courage, chivalry, piety and intelligence, personified an exceptional female figurehead.’
      • ‘What is the big idea behind chivalry or expecting a man to do things that might seem unnatural to him?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The war was fought with heavy loss of life and notable courage and chivalry on both sides.’
      • ‘He was adored by his men, not least for his courage, chivalry and handsome appearance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, Brooks' point is that ambition crowds out other cultivated qualities, such as chivalry.’
      • ‘In that imaginary reality what drives people to act in one way or another is ideas of honour, chivalry, nobility and heroism.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Manuals of chivalry exhorted the ideal man of arms to be temperate to preserve the fighting edge.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The full flowering of the ideals of knighthood and chivalry is found in poetry in the high Middle Ages.’
      • ‘It was the idea of chivalry and courage that appealed.’
    2. 1.2Courteous behaviour, especially that of a man towards women.
      ‘he still retained a sense of chivalry towards women’
      • ‘Just an after thought, with chivalry being dead, how can the perfect man still exist?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Druze are known for their generosity and are guided by a sense of chivalry and honor.’
      • ‘He never started a fight, and he kept to the laws of chivalry, common thief though he was.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Yet in spite of the fanatical beliefs of both sides, there were examples of restraint and even of chivalry in the Crusades.’
      • ‘Imagine living in a peaceful world of chivalry, manners, and intelligence that was the 1800's.’
      • ‘Their sons are sometimes not models of chivalry.’
      • ‘She wasn't in the mood for Danny's misplaced sense of chivalry right now.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sheriffe intervened out of a misplaced sense of chivalry, said Mr Sharpe.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Oh well, it's not like I expected chivalry and flattery.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And here I thought you would hold it out for me, considering the whole chivalry thing.’
      • ‘So forget Stepford; come to Brooklyn, where both civilization and chivalry - the good kind - are lively and well.’
      • ‘Little Trunk wanted to thank Hugh for his unforgotten chivalry toward her.’
  • 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).