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 (hĭ-tîr′ə) also he·tai·ra (-tīr′ə)
n. pl. he·tae·rae (-tîr′ē) or he·tae·ras also he·tai·rai (-tīr′ī′) or he·tai·ras
An ancient Greek courtesan or concubine, especially one who was highly educated or refined.

[Greek hetairā, feminine of hetairos, companion; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots.]

he·tae′ric adj.


(hɪˈtɪərə) or


n, pl -taerae (-ˈtɪəriː) or -tairai (-ˈtaɪraɪ)
(Historical Terms) (esp in ancient Greece) a female prostitute, esp an educated courtesan
[C19: from Greek hetaira concubine]
heˈtaeric, heˈtairic adj


(hɪˈtɪər ə)

n., pl. -tae•rae (-ˈtɪər i)
1. a highly cultured courtesan or concubine, esp. in ancient Greece.
[1810–20; < Greek hetaíra (feminine) companion]


a female companion or paramour of ancient Greece, a sort of professional prostitute.
See also: Greece and Greeks


n pl <-rae or -ras> → Hetäre f
References in periodicals archive ?
Andocides' trial exposed the demos' distrust of the aristocrats and their hetairai, or private associations, while Nichomachus' tribulation dealt with the struggle to re-establish the law.
The symposium is singled out for its special place in Graeco-Roman society: the arrival of the Eastern custom of reclining on couches in the 6th century BC, the expensive furniture, tableware, utensils, frescoes and mosaic floors adorning triclinia, which became the centre of both private meals and organised feasts on special occasions (68-73); the elements of equality and sharing in the Greek meal, whether private, sympotic or sacrificial, in contrast with the Roman context where status difference was maintained between patron and client or emperor and people (73-74); the attendance of women of status at symposia, slaves and hetairai being more usual (75); the changing structure of the Greek symposium in Roman dining, and variations in different periods, places and social strata (77-78).
The identification of these women as water nymphs, hetairai, or what the Athenians would have considered respectable women is unclear, although the context of the scene, an outdoor bathing scene taking place in nature, suggests that they might be nymphs.