One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A prostitute, especially one with wealthy or upper-class clients.
prostitute, whore, sex worker, call girl, white slaveView synonyms
- ‘Nobody in Japan would dream of confusing top Gion geisha with high - class courtesans, let alone prostitutes, the myth that continues to prevail about geisha in the West.’
- ‘She is not a realistic prostitute, but a courtesan, a prominent figure in Indian literature.’
- ‘Punning on the meaning of grande as tall or as grand in the social sense, the seventeenth-century commentator noted the reference to the courtesans and prostitutes of Venice.’
- ‘In our society, women are condemned to be either courtesans or whores.’
- ‘Geishas broke apart from courtesans / prostitutes sometime around the 1500s- 1600s, so the two are somewhat similar.’
Mid 16th century: from French courtisane, from obsolete Italian cortigiana, feminine of cortigiano ‘courtier’, from corte (see court).
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