One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A married woman's male companion or lover.
boyfriend, girlfriend, man friend, woman friend, lady friend, lady-love, beau, loved one, beloved, love, darling, sweetheartView synonyms
- ‘The roommate asked me today if the cicisbeo had ever hit on me.’
- ‘At last he was a full-fledged cavaliere servente, a cicisbeo, an official gigolo whose prior rights, by old Italian custom, are fully recognized by the husband.’
- ‘Married or single and usually drawn from the noble class, cicisbei were evidently chosen by common accord between husband and wife and were often specified in marriage contracts.’
- ‘The cicisbeo was often chosen by common agreement of husband and wife when drawing up the marriage contract.’
- ‘For my part, I would rather be condemned for life to the galleys than exercise the office of a cicisbeo, exposed to the intolerable caprices and dangerous resentment of an Italian virago.’
Early 18th century: Italian, of unknown origin.
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