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- (UK) (non-rhotic) IPA(key): /kɔːtɪˈzæn/, /ˈkɔːtɪzæn/, /ˈkɔːtɪzən/
- (UK) (rhotic) IPA(key): /kɔɹtɪˈzæn/, /ˈkɔɹtɪzæn/, /ˈkɔɹtɪzən/
- (US) IPA(key): /ˈkɔɹtɪzən/, /ˈkɔɹtɪzæn/, /ˈkoɹtɪzən/, /ˈkoɹtɪzæn/
courtesan (plural courtesans)
- (archaic) A woman of a royal or noble court.
- (dated) The mistress of a royal or noble.
- A female prostitute, especially one with high-status or wealthy clients.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:prostitute
- 2014, Frances Wilson, The Courtesan's Revenge, Faber & Faber (→ISBN), page 10:
- In the notes he wrote for Nana, his novel about a courtesan in Second Empire Paris, Zola imagined ‘a whole society hurling itself’ at her body, ‘a pack of hounds after a bitch, who is not even on heat and makes fun of the hounds following her’. This might also describe the life of Harriette Wilson, whose unguarded pursuit by the leaders of the British aristocracy, the army, the government and opposition made her the most desired, and then the most dangerous, woman in Regency London.
woman of court