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Wiktionary reads:

coquette: a woman who flirts or plays with men’s affections.

Is there an English word which fits the following definition?

???: a man who flirts or plays with women’s affections.

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woman : coquette :: man : pussette, or maybe pussito for a more masculine yet diminuitive term –  tchrist Aug 11 '12 at 18:51
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Per answers and comments to “Man” is to “womanizer” as “woman” is to what?, language isn't inherently symmetrical about the "axis" of gender. For reasons of social attitudes, biology, etc., the concept of "male equivalent to coquette" is probably bordering on meaningless. –  FumbleFingers Aug 11 '12 at 20:54
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Doesn't the term 'flirt' work for males? –  Mitch Aug 11 '12 at 21:15
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@FumbleFinger Sexism and hypocrisy become clearer and more obtrusive in your second comment. Sorry, but I must say this! –  Elberich Schneider Aug 11 '12 at 21:19
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@Xavier Vidal Hernández: I don't see why you think just my referring to manifest gender asymmetry in the English language makes me sexist. How do you explain why the word woman derives from wife-man? –  FumbleFingers Aug 12 '12 at 2:06
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5 Answers

up vote 16 down vote accepted

tl;dr: So long as you are content with historical terms rather than merely contemporary ones, the precise word you are looking for is coquet.

Here’s why.


The OED says that a coquette is first:

1. A woman (more or less young), who uses arts to gain the admiration and affection of men, merely for the gratification of vanity or from a desire of conquest, and without any intention of responding to the feelings aroused; a woman who habitually trifles with the affections of men; a flirt. In early use the notion ranged widely from gallantry, wantonness, or immodesty, to pretty pertness.

Curiously, it also provides a later subsense:

c. male coquette: = coquet B 1

Where we learn that the sense B 1 of coquet is

B. sb. 1. A man who from vanity or selfish motives aims at making himself generally attractive to the other sex; a male flirt; a ‘lady-killer’.

Whence we learn of this curious etymology:

a. Fr. coquet, orig. sb., dim. of coq cock, in reference to the strutting gait and amorous characteristics of the cock; hence ‘a beau’, and in the fem. coquette ‘a belle’; also as adj. ‘forward, wanton, gallant’: cf. cock v.1, also cockish, cocky a., and cocket a., which is prob. the same word in an earlier stage of meaning. In later use, the adjective in English became inseparably blended with the attributive use of the sb., to which also it became entirely assimilated in sense. The sb. was, as in Fr., formerly used of both sexes, and in both spelt coquet; but in the 18th c. the fem. became coquette after Fr., and the masculine became obsolete.

The pronunciations given for both are identical.

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Or simply cock. –  Cerberus Dec 27 '12 at 0:57
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Perhaps one of the following may simply:

  • rake
  • ladies’ man
  • player (urban and somewhat slangy)
  • Don Juan
  • Lothario
  • Casanova
  • wolf (less suave)
  • womanizer
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+1 for player ^^ –  Leif Aug 12 '12 at 0:59
    
+1 for Lothario –  Andy F Aug 12 '12 at 9:09
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The term flirt works generically for both genders.

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I'd suggest that peacock would convey a somewhat similar impression.

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For a word that applies solely to men, philanderer is usually a good fit. You can usually find such terms by simply using a thesaurus.

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I think this is completely misleading. A philanderer generally means a man who habitually seeks sex as the goal for his interactions with women. A coquette specifically means a flirt, prick-teaser, who likes the "social" attention of men, but has no intention of allowing this to lead to actual sexual congress. –  FumbleFingers Aug 11 '12 at 20:59
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@FumbleFingers Bernard Shaw, explaining the title of his play The Philanderer to his Swedish translator: "A philanderer is a man who is strongly attracted by women. He flirts with them, falls half in love with them, makes them fall in love with him, but will not commit himself to any permanent relation with them, and often retreats at the last moment if his suit is too successful . . ." –  StoneyB Aug 11 '12 at 23:39
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@FumbleFingers The OED's definition, by the way, is "One who philanders; a male flirt." –  StoneyB Aug 12 '12 at 0:07
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protected by tchrist Sep 26 '12 at 19:01

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