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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Perhaps mental disintegration's forefather is the immoveable Warwick Armstrong, that roundhead in the age of cavaliers.’
    • ‘They romp about their Spanish colonial island in disguises, encounter Royalist cavaliers, and (of course!) fall in love.’
    • ‘In the other corner, Cavaliers to Cheney's Roundheads, is the ‘realist’ wing of the Republicans.’
    • ‘It was Fairfax who created and trained the New Model Army that thrashed the cavaliers.’
    • ‘In this, however, the Puritans and Cavaliers were in effect following Shakespeare's example.’
    • ‘We can understand the class dynamic of Cavaliers and Roundheads because elements of that conflict remain powerful to this day.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘However, the Cavaliers were made of sterner stuff.’
    • ‘On one side were the Royalists, on the other the Parliamentarians, or, as they are better known, the Cavaliers and Roundheads.’
    • ‘The Convention contained a majority of former parliamentarians but old cavaliers in the 1661 Parliament tried to modify what had been done.’
    • ‘The Cavaliers numbered about 6,500 and the Roundheads some 9,500.’
    • ‘On one side was the king and those who supported him - the Royalist party, also called the Cavaliers.’
    • ‘Those loyal to Parliament were called Roundheads; those loyal to the king were Cavaliers.’
    royalist, king's man
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    1. 1.1 A dashing and attentive man, especially one acting as a lady's escort.
      • ‘Mr. Balanchine was at all times a cavalier, a real gentleman.’
      • ‘There are groups with jolly ladies-in-waiting in colorful crinolines attended by adoring cavaliers, as well as court jesters.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Established in 1786, this breathtaking cafe was a fashionable rendezvous place for cavaliers and ladies.’
      • ‘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.’
      dandy, fop, gallant, man about town
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    2. 1.2archaic A horseman, especially a cavalryman.
      • ‘A highly romantic and spectacular figure, Stuart will always be remembered as the dashing cavalier - indeed, one of the finest cavalry commanders.’
      • ‘On Ike's corner, there will be Pegasus knights, pikemen, lords and mounted cavaliers ready to take orders.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The lieutenant controlling a few cavalry armies reported to Hunter who commanded all of the cavaliers through his lieutenant.’
      • ‘An unheroic age could now escape to an alternative universe of gallant cavaliers and their trusted servants.’
      • ‘Three hundred Sikh cavaliers in battle array accompanied Banda to a distance of eight kilometers to give him final send off.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The cavaliers were a truly astounding sight - each horse was jet black and melded into the shadows while running.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The uniform he wore was that of a British cavalier from the early 19th century.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Every part of the cavalier's and dragoon's armor was made to work together.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.

    • ‘They also added the word cavalier to the breed's name.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In addition, cavaliers are eligible to compete in events sanctioned by the United Kennel Club, which has recognized cavaliers since 1980.’
    • ‘She's a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel / Bassett mix.’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘We've had enough uncosted promises, and the elderly have had their expectations treated in too cavalier a fashion.’
    • ‘‘There was little experience on which the company could draw, and the majority were cavalier in their attitude to railway finance and accounts’.’
    • ‘But in the next instant, Lance was back to his cavalier, cynical self.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘Acting in such a high-handed and cavalier fashion does the council no good in the eyes of local people’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But in typically cavalier fashion he dismissed suggestions that he should be concerned about the problem of rising inflation.’
    • ‘The National Park Service had been a bit cavalier about bears eating rubbish; in Yellowstone, virtually all grizzlies fed at open-pit dumps.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Government's whole attitude to this legislation has been cavalier and arrogant.’
    • ‘Our political class has been particularly insensitive to this issue and this cavalier attitude has permeated society as a whole.’
    • ‘This kind of cavalier attitude to the democratic process is intolerable.’
    • ‘The captain left the army in 1998 after his commanding officer described him as having a ‘arrogant and cavalier attitude towards young soldiers’.’
    • ‘Nor am I reassured by Galston's rather cavalier dismissal of economic liberty's importance for individual self-determination.’
    • ‘It was not a decision taken in cavalier fashion, nor was it market-driven.’
    • ‘The attack on professionalism so often found in the literature is cavalier and misguided.’
    • ‘Under a Republican administration, such cavalier dismissal of urban prosperity, even by a career HUD official, is dispiriting.’
    • ‘With this sentence alone the Times reveals its lack of principle and cavalier attitude toward the truth.’
    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.