Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Coquetry

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is coquetry. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Coquetry means “a flirtatious act or attitude.”

// She enjoys using Valentine’s Day as an opportunity for playful gifts and coquetry.

COQUETRY in Context

“The skirt is made of bridal satin, a fabric with a brilliant appearance and a thickness that provides volume. It is typically decorated with ribbons, organza, and pleated lace details. The three-inch heels that the women wear when performing the dance are visible at the bottom of the skirt—a demure bit of coquetry. A game of attraction is central to this dance …” — Fernanda Pérez Sánchez, Vogue, 8 Aug. 2022

Did You Know?

The rooster’s cocky attitude has given him a reputation for arrogance and promiscuity. It has also given the English language several terms for people whose behavior is reminiscent of that strutting barnyard fowl. Coquetry comes to us from the French word coquetterie, which means “flirtation.” The related noun coquet also comes from French, where it is a diminutive of coq, the French word for rooster. Originally, in the 1600s, English speakers used coquet to describe men who indulged in trifling flirtations. Today, you likely won’t hear coquet used only to refer to men. Coquet can also be used interchangeably with coquette (“a flirtatious woman”), and coquetry refers to flirtation regardless of a person’s gender identity.

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