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 cicisbeo was often chosen by common agreement of husband and wife when drawing up the marriage contract.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
Early 18th century: Italian, of unknown origin.
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