SKIP TO CONTENT

courtier

A courtier is someone who serves as an attendant or assistant to a member of a royal family. Among the courtiers of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is Edward Young, her private secretary.

Courtiers are workers in a king or queen's royal court, or "those who attend the court of a sovereign." Famous courtiers include Anne Boleyn, who attended King Henry VIII's wife Catherine of Aragon before marrying the king herself, becoming his second wife, and eventually being beheaded for treason. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, the comic courtiers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern also end up beheaded. In fact, it might be wise to choose a career other than courtier.

Definitions of courtier
  1. noun
    an attendant at the court of a sovereign
    see moresee less
    examples:
    show 4 examples...
    hide 4 examples...
    Damocles
    the Greek courtier to Dionysius the Elder who (according to legend) was condemned to sit under a naked sword that was suspended by a hair in order to demonstrate to him that being a king was not the happy state Damocles had said it was (4th century BC)
    Comtesse Du Barry
    courtier and influential mistress of Louis XV who was guillotined during the French Revolution (1743-1793)
    Sir Walter Raleigh
    English courtier (a favorite of Elizabeth I) who tried to colonize Virginia; introduced potatoes and tobacco to England (1552-1618)
    Sir John Suckling
    English poet and courtier (1609-1642)
    type of:
    attendant, attender, tender
    someone who waits on or tends to or attends to the needs of another
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week