Definition of hetaera in English:


nounplural noun hetaeras, plural noun hetaerae/-ˈti(ə)rē/

(also hetaira)
  • A courtesan or mistress, especially one in ancient Greece akin to the modern geisha.

    ‘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



/həˈtirə/ /həˈtɪrə/


From Greek hetaira, feminine of hetairos ‘companion’.