noun, often attributive
gen·​tle·​man | \ ˈjen-tᵊl-mən How to pronounce gentleman (audio) , ˈje-nᵊl-, in rapid speech also ˈjen-tə-mən, ˈje-nə- \

Definition of gentleman

1a : a man of noble or gentle (see gentle entry 1 sense 4a) birth
b : a man belonging to the landed gentry
c(1) : a man who combines gentle (see gentle entry 1 sense 4a) birth or rank with chivalrous qualities
(2) : a man whose conduct conforms to a high standard of propriety or correct behavior
d(1) : a man of independent means who does not engage in any occupation or profession for gain
(2) : a man who does not engage in a menial occupation or in manual labor for gain
2 : valet sense 1b often used in the phrase gentleman's gentleman
3 : 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

Other Words from gentleman

gentlemanlike \ ˈjen-​tᵊl-​mən-​ˌlīk How to pronounce gentleman (audio) , ˈje-​nᵊl-​ \ adjective
gentlemanlikeness noun

Synonyms for gentleman


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Examples of gentleman in a Sentence

A true gentleman would never engage in such behavior. He's a gentleman by birth.
Recent Examples on the Web With insight and aplomb, Roberts completes his mission, revealing the king to have been a conventional, conservative gentleman, uxorious husband and father of 15. Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2021 There were the gentleman’s clubs in Vegas, which were more of a closed-door/private experience where clients didn’t really want to be seen at all. Sonaiya Kelley, Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2021 The second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, will also travel to Paris, and participate in independent events focused on gender equality, sports diplomacy, and educational exchanges. Sarah Kolinovsky, ABC News, 8 Nov. 2021 Ella Emhoff, the daughter of the country’s second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, and Vice President Kamala Harris. Leanne Italie, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Sep. 2021 Ella Emhoff, the daughter of the country’s second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, and Vice President Kamala Harris. Leanne Italie, Chron, 14 Sep. 2021 The second gentleman, 56, wrote a letter to every Paralympian ahead of Tuesday's opening ceremony. Glenn Garner,, 25 Aug. 2021 The horror comedy is plenty silly – and gleefully gory – as a motley crew of teenage boys on a camping trip in the Scottish Highlands are hunted by a older gentleman (Eddie Izzard) in a weird mask. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, 10 Aug. 2021 There was a gentleman, named Kenneth, who gave me my first haircut on Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick, [Brooklyn,] at a shop called Blazing Skins. Devon Abelman, Allure, 26 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gentleman.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gentleman

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

History and Etymology for gentleman

Middle English gentilman

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Time Traveler for gentleman

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near gentleman

gentle lemur


gentleman's agreement

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Statistics for gentleman

Last Updated

19 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gentleman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of gentleman

: a man who treats other people in a proper and polite way
: man
: a man of high social status


gen·​tle·​man | \ ˈjen-tᵊl-mən How to pronounce gentleman (audio) \
plural gentlemen\ -​mən \

Kids Definition of gentleman

1 : a man with very good manners
2 : a man of any social position
Hint: This word is used especially in polite speech or when speaking to a group of men. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
3 : a man of high social status He's a gentleman by birth.

Other Words from gentleman

gentlemanly adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on gentleman

Nglish: Translation of gentleman for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gentleman for Arabic Speakers


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