Italian cavalier, Old French chevalier, from Late Latin caballarius (“horse rider”). Early loans into Middle High German, as cavali(e)r, are recorded for the 14th century, but remained without direct continuants. Renewed loan in the later 16th century, as Caval(l)ier, Cavaglier, Cavalierer , at the time with Italian plural Cavalieri, but in the 17th century replaced with the French plural Cavaliers. The word rises in popularity during the 17th century.
- Rhymes: -iːɐ̯
By the later 17th century, Kavalier has become the equivalent of "gentleman", the term for the ideal of the educated, well-mannered member of the upper classes. The word is productive in compounds during the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 19th century, it acquires a connotation of being outdated and is gradually replaced by the English Gentleman. Now archaic, historicising or ironic, suggestive of early modern Germany or of 19th-century German militarism.
- Wolfgang Pfeifer (ed.), Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Deutschen, Akademie-Verlag, 2nd edition 1993
- Kavalier in Duden online