(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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