Word of the Day - Tuesday, February 9th

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BEAU (boh)

A man who courts a woman

Common clues: Boyfriend; Swain; Belle's man; Suitor; Gal's sweetheart; Gentleman caller; Steady

Crossword puzzle frequency: 6 times a year

Frequency in English language: 25632 / 86800

Video: Ducks courting

Beau: A man who is the favored companion, regular escort, or boyfriend of a woman. The word comes to us from the French word beau meaning “the beautiful”. According to The Columbia Guide to Standard American English, “Today beau is old fashioned at best, and probably could be labeled archaic or even obsolescent.”

Courtship is the traditional dating period before engagement and marriage. During a courtship, a couple dates to get to know each other and decide if there will be an engagement. Usually courtship is a public affair, done in public and with family approval.

It includes activities such as dating where couples go out together for a meal, a movie, dance parties, a picnic, shopping or general "hanging out", along with other forms of activity. Acts such as meeting on the Internet or virtual dating, chatting on-line via instant messaging or e-mail, sending text messages, conversing over the telephone, writing each other letters, and sending each other flowers, songs, and gifts constitute wooing.

The average duration of courtship varies considerably throughout the world. Furthermore, there is vast individual variation between couples. Courtship may be completely left out in case of arranged marriages where the couple doesn't meet before the wedding.

In the United Kingdom, a poll of 3,000 engaged or married couples resulted in an average duration between first meeting and accepted proposal of marriage of 2 years and 11 months, but yet with the women feeling ready to accept at an average of 2 years and 7 months. Regarding duration between proposal and wedding, the UK poll above gave an average of 2 years and 3 months.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Courtship".