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From Middle English chivalerie, a late 13th century loan from Old French chevalerie (knighthood, chivalry, nobility, cavalry) (11th century), the -erie (-ery) abstract of chevaler (knight, horseman), from Medieval Latin caballarius (horseman, knight), from caballus (horse). Medieval Latin caballaria (knighthood, status or fief of a knight) dates to the 12th century. Doublet of cavalry.


  • IPA(key): /ˈʃɪvəlɹi/, (archaic) /ˈt͡ʃɪvəlɹi/


chivalry (usually uncountable, plural chivalries)

  1. (now rare, historical) Cavalry; horsemen armed for battle.
    • 1999, George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings, Bantam 2011, p. 529:
      ‘Most of the lords who rode with Lord Renly to Storm's End have gone over banner-and-blade to Stannis, with all their chivalry.’
  2. (obsolete) The fact or condition of being a knight; knightly skill, prowess.
  3. The ethical code of the knight prevalent in Medieval Europe, having such primary virtues as mercy towards the poor and oppressed, humility, honour, sacrifice, fear of God, faithfulness, courage and utmost graciousness and courtesy to ladies.
  4. Courtesy, respect and honourable conduct between opponents in wartime.
  5. Courteous behaviour, especially that of men towards women.
  6. (UK, law, historical) A tenure of lands by knightly service.

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Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of chivalerie