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A gigolo or kept man (/ˈɪɡəˌl, ˈʒɪɡ-/) is a male escort or social companion who is supported by a woman in a continuing relationship,[1] often living in her residence or having to be present at her beck and call.

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, when he also would be referred to as a "kept man".[2]


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.[3][4]

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

In popular culture



TV series


See also


  1. ^ "Definition of gigolo". Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  2. ^ "A man who is kept by a woman"., Word Reference, accessed February 14, 2013.
  3. ^ Otterman, Sharon, "'Swiss Gigolo' Sentenced to Six Years"., The Lede, March 9, 2009, News, The New York Times, February 14, 2013.
  4. ^ Dahlkamp,Jürgen, Röbel,Sven, and Smoltczyk, Alexander, "Gigolo Trial: Trial to Begin for Man Who Duped Germany's Richest Woman"., Spiegel Online International, accessed February 14, 2013.
  5. ^ 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)

Further reading

  • Chang, Juju; Thompson, Victoria; Harold, Kelly (February 16, 2012). "Secrets of Gigolos: Why More Women Say They Are Willing to Pay for Sex". ABC News Internet Ventures. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
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