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A skilled and socially adept provider of sexual intimacy, erotic companionship, and sacred healing, particularly when highly compensated and respected, for example in a court or high society setting
The film "Dangerous Beauty" delves into the world of courtesans in renaissance Venice
by Starchild September 18, 2003
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Originally meant a female courtier, a woman of a royal or noble court. By the Renaissance, the connotations of the word had acquired that of the mistress or concubine of a king or a noble.

Now it generally means a high-class prostitute whose clients are wealthy men.
"Christian, I'm a courtesan; I'm paid to make men believe what they want to believe." -Satine, Moulin Rouge

Thaïs, Empress Theodora, Diane de Poitiers, Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn, Madame du Pompadour, Marie Duplessis, and Mata Hari are but a few of many famous courtesans.
by Lorelili January 16, 2011
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A female prostitute, especially one whose clientele is men of high breeding and social status.
My mom is a courtesan, she only screws paying guys with a shitload of dinero.
by Captain June 26, 2003
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A synonym for prostitute employed by upperclass clients. Basically, a nicer term for whore used in the 1500's-1800's.
A lot of European kings had longtime courtesans in addition to their wives.
by loltapir November 20, 2008
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An educated, sophisticated caompanion to wealthy gentlemen. Historically the companions of royalty and aristocracy, the modern courtesan provides companionship and sex to wealthy men for example look up Rhia Charles, London Courtesan.
Rhia Charles, London Courtesan, Elite Escort, High Class Companion
by Ladyluck1 November 02, 2010
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