• A person’s entourage or retinue.
  • A solemn procession, especially for a funeral.

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Example Sentences

“She always has a cortège surrounding her on the way to class, but I want to ask her to the dance when she’s alone.” 

“The cortège followed slowly behind the lead car on the way to the funeral.” 

“Royals used to be known for having an elaborate cortège, usually made up of aristocrats, to attend to their every need.” 

Word Origin

Latin, mid-17th century

Why this word?

The root word of “cortège” is the Latin “cohors,” meaning “retinue” (a synonym for “entourage”). It was adopted into Romance languages to describe royal courts — in Italian, “corteggiare” is a verb that means “to attend court,” and “corteggio” is the noun to describe the group of people surrounding the royal (or otherwise important) figure. The French borrowed the word and turned it into “cortège,” and when it came into English, it retained the same spelling. When the word is not describing an entourage surrounding an important person, it’s sometimes used for a funeral procession (although it’s still usually reserved for prominent figures).

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