See also: Cavalier and cavalièr

English

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Etymology

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First attested in 1589. Borrowed from Middle French cavalier (horseman),[1] itself borrowed from Old Italian cavaliere (mounted soldier, knight),[2] borrowed from Old Occitan cavalier, from Late Latin caballārius (horseman), from Latin caballus (horse), probably from Gaulish caballos 'nag', variant of cabillos (compare Welsh ceffyl, Breton kefel, Irish capall), akin to German (Swabish) Kōb 'nag' and Old Church Slavonic кобꙑла (kobyla) 'mare'.

Previous English forms include cavalero and cavaliero. Doublet of caballero and chevalier.

Pronunciation

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Adjective

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cavalier (comparative more cavalier, superlative most cavalier)

  1. Not caring enough about something important.
    • 2012, Barbara Seaman, Laura Eldridge, Voices of the Women's Health Movement (volume 1):
      Such a cavalier attitude might seem to suggest that doctors consider the uterus as dispensable an organ as, say, an appendix—and some feminists have accused the medical profession of just such callousness []
  2. High-spirited.
  3. Supercilious.
    Synonyms: haughty, disdainful, curt, brusque
  4. (historical) Of or pertaining to the party of King Charles I of England (1600–1649).

Derived terms

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Translations

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Noun

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cavalier (plural cavaliers)

  1. (historical) A military man serving on horse, (chiefly) early modern cavalry officers who had abandoned the heavy armor of medieval knights.
    Synonym: chevalier
    Hypernym: horseman
    Coordinate term: cavalryman
  2. (historical) A gallant: a sprightly young dashing military man.
  3. A gentleman of the class of such officers, particularly:
    1. (historical) A courtesan or noble under Charles I of England, particularly a royalist partisan during the English Civil War which ended his reign.
      Antonym: Roundhead
  4. (slang) Someone with an uncircumcised penis.
    Antonym: roundhead
    • 1992, John Hoyland, Fathers and Sons, page 94:
      The roundheads in the school showers easily equalled the cavaliers.
    • 2008, “Objections of a sentimental character: The subjective dimension of foreskin loss”, in Matatu, number 37, →OCLC, page 158:
      Since penile preference is so tied up with personal aesthetics and body image, it seems both logical and fair to leave the choice of cavalier or roundhead to the owner of the organ, thus avoiding the sort of life-long pain expressed in a comment like this: []
    • 2013, Ellen Datlow, Hauntings, →ISBN, page 155:
      I knew about the English Civil War, Cavaliers (wrong but romantic) versus Roundheads (right but repulsive), but I didn't think that was what he was talking about. I shook my head. “It means our willies aren't circumcised,” he explained. "Are you a cavalier or a roundhead?”
  5. (architecture) A defensive work rising from a bastion, etc., and overlooking the surrounding area.
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Translations

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Verb

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cavalier (third-person singular simple present cavaliers, present participle cavaliering, simple past and past participle cavaliered)

  1. (transitive, dated) Of a man: to act in a gallant and dashing manner toward (women).
    • 1863, Charles Cowden Clarke, Shakespeare-characters; Chiefly Those Subordinate, page 427:
      His social and kind nature is inferred from his cavaliering the ladies Percy and Mortimer, and introducing them, before their husbands depart for the war.
    • 1916, Good Housekeeping, volume 64, page 113:
      "I thought," Graeme burred at him, transfixing him with shrewd eyes, "that you were cavaliering the Italian girl, Beatrice Cenci or Vittoria Colonna or whatever her name is?"

References

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  1. ^ cavalier”, in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996–present.
  2. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2024) “cavalier”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.

Anagrams

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French

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Etymology

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Borrowed from Italian cavaliere, itself borrowed from Old Occitan cavalier, from Late Latin caballārius. Doublet of chevalier, which was inherited.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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cavalier m (plural cavaliers, feminine cavalière)

  1. horseman, particularly:
    1. knight
    2. cavalier: an early modern cavalry officer
    3. (horse-)rider
  2. (chess, m) knight
  3. (card games, m) knight (in tarot)
  4. (m) U-nail, fence staple, construction staple
  5. (m) cable clip
  6. (danse, m) (male) partner
  7. (m) (male) date, (male) companion for social activities

Derived terms

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Descendants

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  • Ottoman Turkish: قاواليه
  • Russian: кавале́р (kavalér)
    • Romanian: cavaler

Adjective

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cavalier (feminine cavalière, masculine plural cavaliers, feminine plural cavalières)

  1. equestrian
  2. cavalier (all senses)

See also

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Chess pieces in French · pièces d’échecs (layout · text)
           
roi dame tour fou cavalier pion

Further reading

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Anagrams

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