A prostitute, especially one with wealthy or upper-class clients.
- 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.
- Geishas broke apart from courtesans / prostitutes sometime around the 1500s- 1600s, so the two are somewhat similar.
- 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.
Mid 16th century: from French courtisane, from obsolete Italian cortigiana, feminine of cortigiano 'courtier', from corte (see court).
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