a. An extent of open ground partially or completely enclosed by walls or buildings; a courtyard.
b. Abbr. Ct. A short street, especially a wide alley walled by buildings on three sides.
c. A large open section of a building, often with a glass roof or skylight.
d. A large building, such as a mansion, arranged around a courtyard.
a. The place of residence of a sovereign or dignitary; a royal mansion or palace.
b. The retinue of a sovereign, including the royal family and personal servants, advisers, and ministers.
c. A sovereign's governing body, including the council of ministers and state advisers.
d. A formal meeting or reception presided over by a sovereign.
a. A person or body of persons that presides over the hearing of cases; a judge or panel of judges.
b. The building, hall, or room where cases are heard.
c. The session at which cases are heard.
4. An ecclesiastical court.
5. Sports An open level area marked with appropriate lines, upon which a game, such as tennis, handball, or basketball, is played.
6. The body of directors of an organization, especially of a corporation.
7. A legislative assembly.
v. court·ed, court·ing, courts
a. To attempt to gain; seek: courting wealth and fame.
b. To behave so as to invite or incur: courts disaster by taking drugs.
2. To try to gain the love or affections of, especially to seek to marry.
3. To attempt to gain the favor of by attention or flattery: a salesperson courting a potential customer.
4. Zoology To behave so as to attract (a mate).
1. To pursue a courtship; woo.
2. Zoology To engage in courtship behavior.
pay court to
1. To flatter with solicitous overtures in an attempt to obtain something or clear away antagonism.
2. To seek someone's love; woo.
[Middle English, from Old French cort, from Latin cohors, cohort-, courtyard, retinue; see gher-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.