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A gigolo (/ˈɪɡəl, ˈʒɪɡ-/ JIG-ə-loh, ZHIG-) is a male escort or social companion who is supported by a person in a continuing relationship,[1] often living in her residence or having to be present at her beck and call.

The term gigolo usually implies a man who adopts a lifestyle consisting of a number of such relationships serially rather than having other means of support.[2][3]

The gigolo is expected to provide companionship, to serve as a consistent escort with good manners and social skills, and often to serve as a dancing partner as required by the woman in exchange for the support. Many gifts, such as expensive clothing and an automobile to drive, may be lavished upon him. The relationship may include sexual services as well, and he also can be referred to as a "kept man."[4]

The word gigolo may be traced to a first usage in English as a neologism during the 1920s as a back-formation from gigolette, a French word for a woman hired as a dancing partner. Both gigolo and gigolette were first recorded in French in the middle part of the 19th century, referring to dance club denizens in Montmartre paid to dance with, and sometimes have sex with, unaccompanied male visitors. In the latter part of the 19th century, particularly after the scandalous murder case known in Paris as the Pranzini Affair [it],[5] the term gigolo took on connotations of the exotic, foreign male whose company and affections could be purchased by well-to-do French women.[6]

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  1. ^ "Definition of gigolo". Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  2. ^ Otterman, Sharon, "'Swiss Gigolo' Sentenced to Six Years". 2009-03-09., The Lede, March 9, 2009, News, The New York Times, February 14, 2013.
  3. ^ Dahlkamp, Jürgen, Röbel, Sven, and Smoltczyk, Alexander, Dahlkamp, Jürgen; Röbel, Sven; Smoltczyk, Alexander (2009-03-06). "Gigolo Trial: Trial to Begin for Man Who Duped Germany's Richest Woman". Spiegel Online., Spiegel Online International, accessed February 14, 2013.
  4. ^ "A man who is kept by a woman"., Word Reference, accessed February 14, 2013.
  5. ^ Maza, Sarah (September 2018). "The Courtesan and the Gigolo: The Murders in the Rue Montaigne and the Dark Side of Empire in Nineteenth-Century Paris . By Aaron Freundschuh.Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2017. Pp. viii+258. $24.95 (paper)". The Journal of Modern History. 90 (3): 707–708. doi:10.1086/698789. ISSN 0022-2801.
  6. ^ Freundschuh, Aaron. The Courtesan and the Gigolo: The Murders in the Rue Montaigne and the Dark Side of Empire in Nineteenth-Century Paris (2017, Stanford University Press)

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