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chivalry Line breaks: chiv|alry
Pronunciation: /ˈʃɪv(ə)lri/

Definition of chivalry in English:


[mass noun]
1The medieval knightly system with its religious, moral, and social code: the age of chivalry
More example sentences
  • Many such characters desperately need a ‘code’ to live by, like the social code of chivalry for Don Quixote.
  • During the Middle Ages, chivalry was a code of brave and courteous conduct for knights.
  • They will consider different interpretations of the famous clash of August 22nd, 1485, within the broader context of medieval warfare and chivalry.
1.1The combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, namely courage, honour, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak: tales of chivalry and knightly deeds
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • In that imaginary reality what drives people to act in one way or another is ideas of honour, chivalry, nobility and heroism.
  • 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.
knight errantry, the knightly code, knighthood, courtly manners, knightliness, courtliness, nobility, magnanimity;
bravery, courage, boldness, valour, heroism, daring, intrepidity;
honour, integrity, high-mindedness, justice, justness, fairness, loyalty, constancy, trueness, truthfulness, virtuousness
1.2Courteous behaviour, especially that of a man towards women: he still retained a sense of chivalry towards women
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • But this romanticized image with gentlemanly behavior and chivalry was largely devised by Victorian scholars in the 19th century.
gallantry, gentlemanliness, thoughtfulness, attentiveness, consideration, considerateness;
courtesy, courteousness, politeness, graciousness, mannerliness, good manners, urbanity, courtliness
2 archaic Knights, noblemen, and horsemen collectively: I fought against the cream of French chivalry


Pronunciation: /ʃɪˈvalrɪk/
Example sentences
  • Such concepts were derived partly from the feudal and chivalric traditions in which land was held from the Crown in exchange for the performance of military duties.
  • All the new knights were appointed for their chivalric reputations.
  • As a young man, in particular, he was conspicuous for his enthusiasm for tournaments and other chivalric pursuits, and his devotion to the crusading cause is especially notable.


Middle English: from Old French chevalerie, from medieval Latin caballerius, for late Latin caballarius 'horseman' (see chevalier).

  • The word chivalry springs from the fact that a knight rode a horse. Chivalry came into English from medieval Latin caballerius, which was based on Latin caballus ‘horse’. Cavalry (mid 16th century), cavalier (mid 16th century), and cavalcade (late 16th century) come from the same Latin word. In its early use chivalry could describe knights, noblemen, and horsemen collectively, as in ‘The eleven kings with their chivalry never turned back’ wrote Thomas Malory (1405–1471) in Le Morte D'Arthur (1485). Later it came to refer to the qualities associated with an ideal knight, especially courage, honour, loyalty, and courtesy.

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