Definition of cavalier in US English:



  • 1historical A supporter of King Charles I in the English Civil War.

    • ‘It is as if the history of England had continued to be written since the seventeenth century as that of the conflict between Cavaliers and Roundheads.’
    • ‘They romp about their Spanish colonial island in disguises, encounter Royalist cavaliers, and (of course!) fall in love.’
    • ‘Five cavaliers were buried following battles in the vicinity in 1647, although no records exist of locals volunteering for either the Royalist or Parliamentary forces.’
    • ‘It was Fairfax who created and trained the New Model Army that thrashed the cavaliers.’
    • ‘We can understand the class dynamic of Cavaliers and Roundheads because elements of that conflict remain powerful to this day.’
    • ‘On one side were the Royalists, on the other the Parliamentarians, or, as they are better known, the Cavaliers and Roundheads.’
    • ‘On one side was the king and those who supported him - the Royalist party, also called the Cavaliers.’
    • ‘He was a cavalier in an age of roundheads, grandson not just of one of the greatest trainers who ever lived but of Sir William Lyons, the founder of Jaguar cars.’
    • ‘However, the Cavaliers were made of sterner stuff.’
    • ‘In this, however, the Puritans and Cavaliers were in effect following Shakespeare's example.’
    • ‘The Cavaliers numbered about 6,500 and the Roundheads some 9,500.’
    • ‘Perhaps mental disintegration's forefather is the immoveable Warwick Armstrong, that roundhead in the age of cavaliers.’
    • ‘Those loyal to Parliament were called Roundheads; those loyal to the king were Cavaliers.’
    • ‘In the other corner, Cavaliers to Cheney's Roundheads, is the ‘realist’ wing of the Republicans.’
    • ‘The Convention contained a majority of former parliamentarians but old cavaliers in the 1661 Parliament tried to modify what had been done.’
    royalist, king's man
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    1. 1.1 A dashing and attentive man, especially one acting as a lady's escort.
      • ‘But BRB showed us that they took them very seriously when on opening night no fewer than nine of the twelve fairies and their cavaliers were principal dancers.’
      • ‘Hardly the Virginia cavalier of legend, Ashby was successful because he understood and appealed to the yeoman characteristics of the people of the Valley and the men whom he led.’
      • ‘Established in 1786, this breathtaking cafe was a fashionable rendezvous place for cavaliers and ladies.’
      • ‘There are groups with jolly ladies-in-waiting in colorful crinolines attended by adoring cavaliers, as well as court jesters.’
      • ‘Mr. Balanchine was at all times a cavalier, a real gentleman.’
      dandy, fop, gallant, man about town
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    2. 1.2archaic A horseman, especially a cavalryman.
      • ‘On Ike's corner, there will be Pegasus knights, pikemen, lords and mounted cavaliers ready to take orders.’
      • ‘Treated by the tanners in Niort, some seventy miles from La Rochelle, these hides were transformed into the chamois considered vital for the clothing of contemporary cavaliers.’
      • ‘Every part of the cavalier's and dragoon's armor was made to work together.’
      • ‘The uniform he wore was that of a British cavalier from the early 19th century.’
      • ‘The cavaliers were a truly astounding sight - each horse was jet black and melded into the shadows while running.’
      • ‘The lieutenant controlling a few cavalry armies reported to Hunter who commanded all of the cavaliers through his lieutenant.’
      • ‘The crippling ailment of a good portion of the 50 or so musketeer flicks out there is that there's only so much you can do with cavaliers and carriages.’
      • ‘So while the days of swashbuckling cavaliers may be over, the story of a ‘rover’ who vows never to get married, even when all of his friends have already tied the knot, still endures.’
      • ‘An unheroic age could now escape to an alternative universe of gallant cavaliers and their trusted servants.’
      • ‘You'll select a number of units to deploy for each scenario, relying on such fantasy staples as weapon-heavy cavaliers and nimble archers to see you through.’
      • ‘In most of the missions, Tarnum will begin with a castle town, developing such troops as pikemen, archers, monks, cavaliers and the all-mighty angels.’
      • ‘As if they were a single individual, the phalanx of Zxanxi cavaliers each drew two long, curved sabres from the sabres with their upper arms, and brandished the paired shields with their lower arms.’
      • ‘The men in the piece are cavaliers (and suavely costumed as such by Ann Hould-Ward).’
      • ‘My uncle, Paul Rodzianko, was a white Russian and a cavalier in the tsar's army early in the 20th century.’
      • ‘A highly romantic and spectacular figure, Stuart will always be remembered as the dashing cavalier - indeed, one of the finest cavalry commanders.’
      • ‘As we watched, Yellow and his fellow cavaliers appeared on their mighty steeds, amid such swirling clouds of fog and so many tosses of perfectly conditioned hair that we were transported to Camelot - or maybe a Bon Jovi video.’
      • ‘Three hundred Sikh cavaliers in battle array accompanied Banda to a distance of eight kilometers to give him final send off.’
      horseman, cavalryman, horse soldier, trooper, equestrian, knight, chevalier
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  • 2A small spaniel of a breed with a moderately long, noncurly, silky coat.

    • ‘Oliver is a Cavalier King Charles spaniel and in the 17th century the king himself issued a royal proclamation commanding that his favourite breed of dog should be allowed entry to absolutely any establishment in the country.’
    • ‘She's a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel / Bassett mix.’
    • ‘In addition, cavaliers are eligible to compete in events sanctioned by the United Kennel Club, which has recognized cavaliers since 1980.’
    • ‘They also added the word cavalier to the breed's name.’
    • ‘Breed experts claim it is unheard of for a Cavalier King Charles spaniel to have so many pups and say they are ‘staggered’ at the size of the litter.’


  • Showing a lack of proper concern; offhand.

    ‘Anne was irritated by his cavalier attitude’
    • ‘This kind of cavalier attitude to the democratic process is intolerable.’
    • ‘But in typically cavalier fashion he dismissed suggestions that he should be concerned about the problem of rising inflation.’
    • ‘Our political class has been particularly insensitive to this issue and this cavalier attitude has permeated society as a whole.’
    • ‘‘If this information is correct our members will be outraged at the cavalier, reckless and disjointed approach to safety management and safe ways of working on the railways,’ he said.’
    • ‘‘There was little experience on which the company could draw, and the majority were cavalier in their attitude to railway finance and accounts’.’
    • ‘We've had enough uncosted promises, and the elderly have had their expectations treated in too cavalier a fashion.’
    • ‘Quite clearly, the implication is that this view is all too retrospective, and so perhaps a bit cavalier in its treatment of significant historical details.’
    • ‘The Government's whole attitude to this legislation has been cavalier and arrogant.’
    • ‘The captain left the army in 1998 after his commanding officer described him as having a ‘arrogant and cavalier attitude towards young soldiers’.’
    • ‘The attack on professionalism so often found in the literature is cavalier and misguided.’
    • ‘The National Park Service had been a bit cavalier about bears eating rubbish; in Yellowstone, virtually all grizzlies fed at open-pit dumps.’
    • ‘With this sentence alone the Times reveals its lack of principle and cavalier attitude toward the truth.’
    • ‘Nor am I reassured by Galston's rather cavalier dismissal of economic liberty's importance for individual self-determination.’
    • ‘Acting in such a high-handed and cavalier fashion does the council no good in the eyes of local people’
    • ‘But in the next instant, Lance was back to his cavalier, cynical self.’
    • ‘And given our Health Minister's cavalier attitude to HIV / Aids, you'd think this would be one area on which the government could focus a little more attention.’
    • ‘It was not a decision taken in cavalier fashion, nor was it market-driven.’
    • ‘But now his wife has spoken of her bitterness at the cavalier way she believes she was told their 21-year marriage was over.’
    • ‘I am tired of Mr.Beattie and his hollow apologies, his cavalier attitude to our problems and his habit of making jokes and trivialising important issues.’
    • ‘Under a Republican administration, such cavalier dismissal of urban prosperity, even by a career HUD official, is dispiriting.’
    offhand, indifferent, casual, dismissive, insouciant, uninterested, unconcerned
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Mid 16th century: from French, from Italian cavaliere, based on Latin caballus ‘horse’. Compare with caballero and chevalier.