(3 syl.). A French word, originally tantamount to our “guild,”
a society where each paid his quota-
i.e. his quote-part or gild (share). The French word has
departed from its original meaning, and is now applied to an exclusive
set, more especially of ladies.
“All coteries ... it seems to me, have a tendency to change truth
into affectation.” —E. C. Gaskell; Charlotte Brontë (vol. ii.
chap. xi. p 47).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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