[jen-tl-woo m-uh n]

noun, plural gen·tle·wom·en.

a woman of good family, breeding, or social position
a civilized, educated, sensitive, or well-mannered woman; lady.
a woman who attends upon a lady of rank.
a female member of the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives: The chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Maine.

Origin of gentlewoman

Middle English word dating back to 1200–50; see origin at gentle, woman
Related formsgen·tle·wom·an·ly, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gentlewoman

Historical Examples of gentlewoman

  • It seems 'tis not so asy any way, now-a-days, to make a gentlewoman, Mrs. Rooney.

  • Yet it is not well for a woman and a gentlewoman to dwell alone.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

  • But the gentlewoman's heart was a great deal better than her head.

    Victor's Triumph

    Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth

  • That a Spanish gentlewoman should have shown herself so bold!

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer

    Cyrus Townsend Brady

  • "She is a gentlewoman by birth, sir," said the old lady, tetchily.

    A Day's Ride

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for gentlewoman


noun plural -women

archaic a woman regarded as being of good family or breeding; lady
rare a woman who is cultured, courteous, and well-educated
history a woman in personal attendance on a high-ranking lady
Derived Formsgentlewomanly, adjectivegentlewomanliness, 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 gentlewoman

early 13c., from gentle + woman.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper