[jen-tl-muh n]

noun, plural gen·tle·men.

Origin of gentleman

Middle English word dating back to 1225–75; see origin at gentle, man1
Related formsgen·tle·man·like, adjectiveun·der·gen·tle·man, noun, plural un·der·gen·tle·men.un·gen·tle·man·like, adjective

Synonyms for gentleman

4. See man1.

Usage note

See lady. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gentlemanlike

Historical Examples of gentlemanlike

  • "You haven't told me why you like this gentlemanlike boor," he persisted.

    Peak and Prairie

    Anna Fuller

  • Snooks does not any more think it gentlemanlike to blackball attorneys.

    The Book of Snobs

    William Makepeace Thackeray

  • Is he not a devilish good-looking, gentlemanlike sort of fellow?


    William Harrison Ainsworth

  • He was not only a very good-looking, but a gentlemanlike boy in his manners.

    The Poacher

    Frederick Marryat

  • There he is at Broadstone, as gentlemanlike a youth as I would wish to see.

    The Heir of Redclyffe

    Charlotte M. Yonge

British Dictionary definitions for gentlemanlike


noun plural -men

a man regarded as having qualities of refinement associated with a good family
a man who is cultured, courteous, and well-educated
a polite name for a man
the personal servant of a gentleman (esp in the phrase gentleman's gentleman)
British history a man of gentle birth, who was entitled to bear arms, ranking above a yeoman in social position
(formerly) a smuggler
Derived Formsgentlemanly, adjectivegentlemanliness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gentlemanlike



"well-born man," early 13c., from gentle + man.

The Gentleman is always truthful and sincere; will not agree for the sake of complaisance or out of weakness ; will not pass over that of which he disapproves. He has a clear soul, and a fearless, straightforward tongue. On the other hand he is not blunt and rude. His truth is courteous; his courtesy, truthful; never a humbug, yet, where he truthfully can, he prefers to say pleasant things. [J.R. Vernon, "Contemporary Review," 1869]

Related: Gentlemen. Gentleman's agreement is first attested 1929. Gentleman farmer recorded from 1749.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper