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Webster 1913 Edition


Gentleman

Gen′tle-man

,
Noun.
;
pl.
Gentlemen
(#)
.
[OE.
gentilman
nobleman;
gentil
noble +
man
man; cf. F.
gentilhomme
.]
1.
A man well born; one of good family; one above the condition of a yeoman.
2.
One of gentle or refined manners; a well-bred man.
3.
(Her.)
One who bears arms, but has no title.
4.
The servant of a man of rank.
The count’s
gentleman
, one Cesario.
Shakespeare
5.
A man, irrespective of condition; – used esp. in the plural (= citizens; people), in addressing men in popular assemblies, etc.
☞ In Great Britain, the term gentleman is applied in a limited sense to those having coats of arms, but who are without a title, and, in this sense, gentlemen hold a middle rank between the nobility and yeomanry. In a more extended sense, it includes every man above the rank of yeoman, comprehending the nobility. In the United States, the term is applied to men of education and good breeding of every occupation.
Gentleman commoner
,
one of the highest class of commoners at the University of Oxford.
Gentleman usher
,
one who ushers visitors into the presence of a sovereign, etc.
Gentleman usher of the black rod
,
an usher belonging to the Order of the Garter, whose chief duty is to serve as official messenger of the House of Lords.
Gentlemen-at-arms
,
a band of forty gentlemen who attend the sovereign on state occasions; formerly called
gentlemen pensioners
.
[Eng.]

Webster 1828 Edition


Gentleman

GEN'TLEMAN

,
Adj.
[gentle, that is, genteel, and man. See Genteel.]
1.
In its most extensive sense, in Great Britain, every man above the rank of yeomen, comprehending noblemen. In a more limited sense, a man, who without a title,bears a coat of arms, or whose ancestors have been freemen. In this sense, gentlemen hold a middle rank between the nobility and yeomanry.
2.
In the United States, where titles and distinctions of rank do not exist, the term is applied to men of education and of good breeding, of every occupation. Indeed this is also the popular practice in Great Britain. Hence,
3.
A man of good breeding, politeness, and civil manners, as distinguished from the vulgar and clownish.
A plowman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees.
4.
A term of complaisance. In the plural,the appellation by which men are addressed in popular assemblies,whatever may be their condition or character.
5.
In Great Britain, the servant of a man of rank, who attends his person.

Definition 2021


Gentleman

Gentleman

See also: gentleman

German

Noun

Gentleman m (genitive Gentlemans, plural Gentlemen or Gentlemans)

  1. gentleman (well-mannered, charming man)

Usage notes

  • The plural Gentlemans is proscribed in the formal register, but is heard rather frequently. It is less likely to be used by people of higher education, except jokingly.

gentleman

gentleman

See also: Gentleman

English

Noun

gentleman (plural gentlemen)

  1. (chiefly historical) A man of gentle but not noble birth, particularly a man of means (originally ownership of property) who does not work for a living but has no official status in a peerage; (Britain law) an armiferous man ranking below a knight.
    Being a gentleman, Robert was entitled to shove other commoners into the gongpit but he still had to jump out of the way of the knights to avoid the same fate himself.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      “[…] This is Mr. Churchill, who, as you are aware, is good enough to come to us for his diaconate, and, as we hope, for much longer; and being a gentleman of independent means, he declines to take any payment.” Saying this Walden rubbed his hands together and smiled contentedly.
  2. Any well-bred, well-mannered, or charming man.
    ZOMG! He was such a gentleman! I think I'm in love!
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity:
      I corralled the judge, and we started off across the fields, in no very mild state of fear of that gentleman's wife, whose vigilance was seldom relaxed.
    • 1915, George A. Birmingham, chapter I”, in Gossamer (Project Gutenberg; EBook #24394), London: Methuen & Co., published 8 January 2013 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 558189256:
      As a political system democracy seems to me extraordinarily foolish, []. My servant is, so far as I am concerned, welcome to as many votes as he can get. [] I do not suppose that it matters much in reality whether laws are made by dukes or cornerboys, but I like, as far as possible, to associate with gentlemen in private life.
  3. (pejorative) An effeminate or oversophisticated man.
    Well, la-di-da, aren't you just a proper gentleman?
  4. (polite term of address) Any man.
    Please escort this gentleman to the gentlemen's room.
  5. (usually historical, sometimes pejorative) An amateur or dabbler in any field, particularly those of independent means.
    • 2004, Mary N. Woods, "The First Professional: Benjamin Henry Latrobe", in, Keith L. Eggener, editor, American Architectural History: A Contemporary Reader, Routledge, electronic edition, ISBN 0203643682, p.119 :
      Latrobe had extensive dealings with Jefferson, the most prominent gentleman-architect in the United States.
  6. (cricket) An amateur player, particularly one whose wealth permits him to forego payment.

Usage notes

Although gentleman is used in reference to a man and gentlemen is used as a polite form of address to a group of men, it is more common to directly address a single gentleman as sir.

Related terms

Coordinate terms

Derived terms

Translations

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: paper · object · faith · #607: gentleman · persons · wrote · chief

French

Etymology

Borrowing from English gentleman.

Noun

gentleman m (plural gentlemen)

  1. gentleman, especially an anglophone one

Anagrams