noun, plural la·dies.
- an attribute or abstraction personified as a woman; a designation of an allegorical figure as feminine: Lady Fortune; Lady Virtue.
- a title prefixed to the name of a goddess: Lady Venus.
Origin of lady
An approach that is increasingly followed is to avoid specifying the sex of the performer or practitioner. Person or a sex-neutral term can be substituted for lady, as cleaner for cleaning lady and sales associate or salesclerk for saleslady. When circumstances make it relevant to specify sex, woman rather than lady is used, the parallel term being man: Men doctors outnumber women doctors on the hospital staff by more than three to one. See also -person, -woman.
Examples from the Web for lady
I wonder what that lady is doing now, and if she knows what she set in motion with Archer?‘Archer’ Creator Adam Reed Spills Season 6 Secrets, From Surreal Plotlines to Life Post-ISIS|Marlow Stern|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Lady Edith is so sad that her sadness nearly set the whole damned house on fire.‘Downton Abbey’ Review: A Fire, Some Sex, and Sad, Sad Edith|Kevin Fallon|January 5, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Lady Rose is also rather subdued in the premiere, which is a pity.
Jennie Jerome, who went on to become Lady Randolph Churchill, was born in Brooklyn in 1854.
It is the most animated this Downton Abbey fan has ever seen Lady Grantham.
Good-night, Lady Peters; do not interrupt me again, if you please.Wife in Name Only|Charlotte M. Braeme (Bertha M. Clay)
If you had said or implied she was a lady, she would have shrunk as from a covert reflection on the quality of her work.The Flight of the Shadow|George MacDonald
So the lady continued, till she aggravated his highness into a great fury.
As those words were said, you might have seen at once why Lady Montfort was called haughty and reserved.What Will He Do With It, Complete|Edward Bulwer-Lytton
It took Lady Clare several months to accustom Shag (for that was the colt's name) to her ways.Boyhood in Norway|Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen
British Dictionary definitions for lady (1 of 2)
noun plural -dies
- a polite name for a woman
- (as modifier)a lady doctor
Word Origin for lady
British Dictionary definitions for lady (2 of 2)
noun plural -dies
Word Origin and History for lady
c.1200, lafdi, lavede, from Old English hlæfdige "mistress of a household, wife of a lord," literally "one who kneads bread," from hlaf "bread" (see loaf) + -dige "maid," related to dæge "maker of dough" (see dey (1); also compare lord). The medial -f- disappeared 14c. Not found outside English except where borrowed from it.
Sense of "woman of superior position in society" is c.1200; "woman whose manners and sensibilities befit her for high rank in society" is from 1861 (ladylike in this sense is from 1580s, and ladily from c.1400). Meaning "woman as an object of chivalrous love" is from early 14c. Used commonly as an address to any woman since 1890s. Applied in Old English to the Holy Virgin, hence many extended usages in plant names, place names, etc., from genitive singular hlæfdigan, which in Middle English merged with the nominative, so that lady- often represents (Our) Lady's; e.g. ladybug. Ladies' man first recorded 1784. Lady of pleasure recorded from 1640s.