Definition of chivalry in US English:



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

    • ‘During the Middle Ages, chivalry was a code of brave and courteous conduct for knights.’
    • ‘Joan united ‘to her maidenly virtues the martial courage and ardor of the noblest knights of chivalry,’ the author argued.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Saladin, as in most of the medieval chronicles, represents chivalry.’
    • ‘Many such characters desperately need a ‘code’ to live by, like the social code of chivalry for Don Quixote.’
    • ‘Only the nobility participated in warfare, using the symbol of medieval chivalry, the chariot.’
    • ‘They will consider different interpretations of the famous clash of August 22nd, 1485, within the broader context of medieval warfare and chivalry.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A code of behavior, chivalry, evolved from these feudal contests of skill.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Once again, chivalry and morals, my friends, will take you places.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Like many before and since, Chandler saw the detective as embodying the medieval conception of chivalry.’
    • ‘The festival of music, dance, martial arts and medieval chivalry will showcase a variety of costumes, colour and culture.’
    • ‘For a moment, I felt like I had been transported back in time, into a medieval world of chivalry and magic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It speaks of jousts, tournaments, wizards, falconry, enchantresses, damsels in distress, wars, quests, and the code of chivalry.’
    1. 1.1historical Knights, noblemen, and horsemen collectively.
      ‘I fought against the cream of French chivalry’
    2. 1.2 The combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, especially courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak.
      • ‘Manuals of chivalry exhorted the ideal man of arms to be temperate to preserve the fighting edge.’
      • ‘The scale rewards honor, chivalry and courage, but also deducts for blatant foolishness and sheer idiocy.’
      • ‘In that imaginary reality what drives people to act in one way or another is ideas of honour, chivalry, nobility and heroism.’
      • ‘The full flowering of the ideals of knighthood and chivalry is found in poetry in the high Middle Ages.’
      • ‘The war was fought with heavy loss of life and notable courage and chivalry on both sides.’
      • ‘What is the big idea behind chivalry or expecting a man to do things that might seem unnatural to him?’
      • ‘However, Brooks' point is that ambition crowds out other cultivated qualities, such as chivalry.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘More resonantly, Joan, due to her chastity, courage, chivalry, piety and intelligence, personified an exceptional female figurehead.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was adored by his men, not least for his courage, chivalry and handsome appearance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was the idea of chivalry and courage that appealed.’
      knight errantry, the knightly code, knighthood, courtly manners, knightliness, courtliness, nobility, magnanimity
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    3. 1.3 Courteous behavior, especially that of a man toward women.
      ‘their relations with women were models of chivalry and restraint’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Just an after thought, with chivalry being dead, how can the perfect man still exist?’
      • ‘Yet in spite of the fanatical beliefs of both sides, there were examples of restraint and even of chivalry in the Crusades.’
      • ‘The Druze are known for their generosity and are guided by a sense of chivalry and honor.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Little Trunk wanted to thank Hugh for his unforgotten chivalry toward her.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And here I thought you would hold it out for me, considering the whole chivalry thing.’
      • ‘He never started a fight, and he kept to the laws of chivalry, common thief though he was.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Imagine living in a peaceful world of chivalry, manners, and intelligence that was the 1800's.’
      • ‘Sheriffe intervened out of a misplaced sense of chivalry, said Mr Sharpe.’
      • ‘So forget Stepford; come to Brooklyn, where both civilization and chivalry - the good kind - are lively and well.’
      • ‘Their sons are sometimes not models of chivalry.’
      • ‘Oh well, it's not like I expected chivalry and flattery.’
      gallantry, gentlemanliness, thoughtfulness, attentiveness, consideration, considerateness
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Middle English: from Old French chevalerie, from medieval Latin caballerius, for late Latin caballarius ‘horseman’ (see chevalier).