• synonyms


[jen-tl-muh n]
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noun, plural gen·tle·men.
  1. a man of good family, breeding, or social position.
  2. (used as a polite term) a man: Do you know that gentleman over there?
  3. gentlemen, (used as a form of address): Gentlemen, please come this way.
  4. a civilized, educated, sensitive, or well-mannered man: He behaved like a true gentleman.
  5. a male personal servant, especially of a man of social position; valet.
  6. a male attendant upon a king, queen, or other royal person, who is himself of high birth or rank.
  7. a man of good social standing, as a noble or an armigerous commoner.
  8. a man with an independent income who does not work for a living.
  9. a male member of the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives: The chair recognizes the gentleman from Massachusetts.
  10. History/Historical. a man who is above the rank of yeoman.
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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

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4. See man1.

Usage note

See lady.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for gentlemen

aristocrat, nobleman, sir, don, cavalier, patrician, lord

Examples from the Web for gentlemen

Contemporary Examples of gentlemen

Historical Examples of gentlemen

  • The three gentlemen parted most cordially from him after he had paid the check.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • On the contrary, gentlemen, I thought they were all looking at me.

  • The gentlemen were smoking, and some of the ladies were trying to look at ease with cigarettes.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • We will wait till the gentlemen finish their cigars, before driving.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • But if this goes on, it is the gentlemen who ought to withdraw.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

British Dictionary definitions for gentlemen


noun plural -men
  1. a man regarded as having qualities of refinement associated with a good family
  2. a man who is cultured, courteous, and well-educated
  3. a polite name for a man
  4. the personal servant of a gentleman (esp in the phrase gentleman's gentleman)
  5. British history a man of gentle birth, who was entitled to bear arms, ranking above a yeoman in social position
  6. (formerly) a smuggler
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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 gentlemen



"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper