gen·​tle·​man ˈjen-tᵊl-mən How to pronounce gentleman (audio)
 in rapid speech also  ˈjen-tə-mən,
often attributive
: a man of noble or gentle (see gentle entry 1 sense 4a) birth
: a man belonging to the landed gentry
: a man who combines gentle (see gentle entry 1 sense 4a) birth or rank with chivalrous qualities
: a man whose conduct conforms to a high standard of propriety or correct behavior
: a man of independent means who does not engage in any occupation or profession for gain
: a man who does not engage in a menial occupation or in manual labor for gain
: valet sense 1b
often used in the phrase gentleman's gentleman
: a man of any social class or condition
often used in a courteous reference
show this gentleman to a seat
or usually in the plural in address
ladies and gentlemen
gentlemanlike adjective
gentlemanlikeness noun

Example Sentences

A true gentleman would never engage in such behavior. He's a gentleman by birth.
Recent Examples on the Web What about the other two gentlemen on the subway who were helping him [restrain Neely]? Emily Robertson, Fox News, 14 May 2023 The Sun 2 The Weeknd is 'getting ready to close the Weeknd chapter' Ladies and gentlemen … Monday. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 8 May 2023 Only 5% of Americans actually want both of these gentlemen to run. Nbc Universal, NBC News, 23 Apr. 2023 Sy is reprising his role as Assane Diop, a character inspired by the world-famous gentleman thief and master of disguise, Arsène Lupin. Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 20 Apr. 2023 This from a third gentleman, who had just appeared at Baker’s side. Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Mar. 2023 The Method Skip the trainer, hire a coach It’s been said that a gentleman’s most important relationships are with his tailor, his barber and his doctor. Cassie Shortsleeve, Robb Report, 26 Mar. 2023 This gentleman is an internet troll and scourge of the earth. Tori Otten, The New Republic, 1 May 2023 Samuel Johnson asked in 1775, referring to those voluble Virginia gentlemen Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Madison. David Harsanyi, National Review, 27 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gentleman.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English gentilman

First Known Use

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of gentleman was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near gentleman

Cite this Entry

“Gentleman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


gen·​tle·​man ˈjen(t)-ᵊl-mən How to pronounce gentleman (audio)
: a man of good birth and position
: a man of good education and social position
: a male with very good manners
reminded her young son to be a gentleman
: man
I can help this gentleman
ladies and gentlemen

More from Merriam-Webster on gentleman

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