Meaning of hetaera in English:


Pronunciation /hɪˈtɪərə/

nounplural noun hetaeras, plural noun hetaerae/hɪˈtɪəriː/ , plural noun hetairas, plural noun hetairai/hɪˈtʌɪrʌɪ/

(also hetaira)
  • A courtesan or mistress, especially an educated one in ancient Greece.

    ‘the scene shows the birth of Aphrodite from the sea, and a hetaera, piping’
    • ‘A number of the women had time to develop their minds in between flaunting their bodies, more like geisha girls, or the hetaerae of ancient Greece, than modern-day porn stars.’
    • ‘In ancient Greece female professional musicians were usually slaves and prostitutes, such as the highly educated hetairai who often sang and accompanied themselves on the lyre.’
    • ‘This has been a traditional marketing angle in the sex industry, dating back to Roman times when the hetaerae, or foreign women, commanded the highest prices for sexual services.’
    • ‘The Barburen and both the Vermeers depict musical performances. Was musical skill expected of Dutch courtesans as it was of Greek hetairai; or was the women's deft play on instruments a bawdy symbol?’
    • ‘In the learned, Grecophile culture of the Medici pope's court, courtesans were regarded as latter-day reincarnations of hetairai, the women who entertained men at the symposium in ancient Greece.’
    lover, beloved, significant other


From Greek hetaira, feminine of hetairos ‘companion’.