wellborn and well-bred people.
(in England) the class below the nobility.
an upper or ruling class; aristocracy.
those who are not members of the nobility but are entitled to a coat of arms, especially those owning large tracts of land.
(used with a plural verb) people, especially considered as a specific group, class, or kind: The polo crowd doesn't go there, but these hockey gentry do.
the state or condition of being a gentleman.

Origin of gentry

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English word from Old French word genterie. See gentile, gentle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for gentry


Examples from the Web for gentry

Contemporary Examples of gentry

Historical Examples of gentry

  • You will have wealth, station—a name among the first in the gentry of England.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • I suppose you have no objection this time to bestow a few bullets on these gentry?

    The Field of Ice

    Jules Verne

  • The guests comprised the gentry of the neighbourhood, and also many from a distance.

    Adventures and Recollections

    Bill o'th' Hoylus End

  • But that only makes him angry, and he says dreadful things about the gentry.

  • The people are coming in hundreds—aye, in thousands—the gentry will follow; they must.

    Mistress Wilding

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for gentry



persons of high birth or social standing; aristocracy
British persons just below the nobility in social rank
informal, often derogatory people, esp of a particular group or kind

Word Origin for gentry

C14: from Old French genterie, from gentil gentle
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 gentry

c.1300, "nobility of rank or birth," from Old French genterise, variant of gentilise "noble birth, gentleness," from gentil (see gentle). Meaning "noble persons" is from 1520s. Earlier in both senses was gentrice (c.1200 as "nobility of character," late 14c. as "noble persons"). In Anglo-Irish, gentry was a name for "the fairies" (1880), and gentle could mean "enchanted" (1823).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper