1570s, "behavior of a courtier," from court (n.) + -ship. Meaning "the wooing of a woman, attention paid by a man to a woman with intention of winning her affection and ultimately her consent to marriage" is from 1590s. By 1830s it was used of a period during which a couple mutually develops a romantic relationship with a view to marriage.
updated on April 19, 2018
Dictionary entries near courtship