Share this entry

cavalier Syllabification: cav·a·lier
Pronunciation: /ˌkavəˈlir/

Definition of cavalier in English:


1 (Cavalier) historical A supporter of King Charles I in the English Civil War.
Example sentences
  • Those loyal to Parliament were called Roundheads; those loyal to the king were Cavaliers.
  • On one side were the Royalists, on the other the Parliamentarians, or, as they are better known, the Cavaliers and Roundheads.
  • In the other corner, Cavaliers to Cheney's Roundheads, is the ‘realist’ wing of the Republicans.
1.1 archaic or literary A courtly gentleman, especially one acting as a lady’s escort.
Example sentences
  • Mr. Balanchine was at all times a cavalier, a real gentleman.
  • 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.
1.2 archaic A horseman, especially a cavalryman.
Example sentences
  • A highly romantic and spectacular figure, Stuart will always be remembered as the dashing cavalier - indeed, one of the finest cavalry commanders.
  • Every part of the cavalier's and dragoon's armor was made to work together.
  • An unheroic age could now escape to an alternative universe of gallant cavaliers and their trusted servants.
horseman, equestrian;
cavalryman, trooper, knight
2 (also Cavalier King Charles) A small spaniel of a breed with a moderately long, noncurly, silky coat.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • She's a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel / Bassett mix.


Back to top  
Showing a lack of proper concern; offhand: Anne was irritated by his cavalier attitude
More example sentences
  • With this sentence alone the Times reveals its lack of principle and cavalier attitude toward the truth.
  • The captain left the army in 1998 after his commanding officer described him as having a ‘arrogant and cavalier attitude towards young soldiers’.
  • It was not a decision taken in cavalier fashion, nor was it market-driven.
offhand, indifferent, casual, dismissive, insouciant, unconcerned;
supercilious, patronizing, condescending, disdainful, scornful, contemptuous
informal couldn't-care-less, devil-may-care


Mid 16th century: from French, from Italian cavaliere, based on Latin caballus 'horse'. Compare with caballero and chevalier.



Pronunciation: /ˌkavəˈlirlē/
Example sentences
  • After all, a school system that cavalierly advances children from grade to grade even if they haven't mastered basic reading and math skills is just hurting those kids.
  • One danger here is not that the issues will be treated too cavalierly - that their complexities will not be fully appreciated - but rather that they will be made to appear more difficult than necessary.
  • They cavalierly entered a pay-TV market about which they knew nothing, underestimated the severity of the competition's response and paid a ludicrous sum for the rights to broadcast football matches hardly anybody watches.

Words that rhyme with cavalier

adhere, Agadir, Anglosphere, appear, arrear, auctioneer, austere, balladeer, bandolier, Bashkir, beer, besmear, bier, blear, bombardier, brigadier, buccaneer, cameleer, career, cashier, chandelier, charioteer, cheer, chevalier, chiffonier, clavier, clear, Coetzee, cohere, commandeer, conventioneer, Cordelier, corsetière, Crimea, dear, deer, diarrhoea (US diarrhea), domineer, Dorothea, drear, ear, electioneer, emir, endear, engineer, fear, fleer, Freer, fusilier, gadgeteer, Galatea, gazetteer, gear, gondolier, gonorrhoea (US gonorrhea), Greer, grenadier, hand-rear, hear, here, Hosea, idea, interfere, Izmir, jeer, Judaea, Kashmir, Keir, kir, Korea, Lear, leer, Maria, marketeer, Medea, Meir, Melilla, mere, Mia, Mir, mishear, mountaineer, muleteer, musketeer, mutineer, near, orienteer, pamphleteer, panacea, paneer, peer, persevere, pier, Pierre, pioneer, pistoleer, privateer, profiteer, puppeteer, racketeer, ratafia, rear, revere, rhea, rocketeer, Sapir, scrutineer, sear, seer, sere, severe, Shamir, shear, sheer, sincere, smear, sneer, sonneteer, souvenir, spear, sphere, steer, stere, summiteer, Tangier, tear, tier, Trier, Tyr, veer, veneer, Vere, Vermeer, vizier, volunteer, Wear, weir, we're, year, Zaïre

Definition of cavalier in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day coiffeur
Pronunciation: kwɑːˈfəː
a hairdresser