noun, often attributive
gen·​tle·​man | \ˈjen-tᵊl-mən, 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 1a) birth

b : a man belonging to the landed gentry

c(1) : a man who combines gentle (see gentle entry 1 sense 1a) 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

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Other Words from gentleman

gentlemanlike \ ˈjen-​tᵊl-​mən-​ˌlīk , ˈje-​nᵊl-​ \ adjective
gentlemanlikeness noun

Synonyms for gentleman


grandee, lord, milord, nobleman, peer

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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

The Domino’s Philly-cheese-steak pizza arrived via a gray-haired black gentleman who had difficulty breathing. Gary Shteyngart, The New Yorker, "The Luck of Kokura," 18 June 2018 These rumors come shortly after E!News reported that Jelena are healthier than ever since Justin is being total gentleman this time around. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "Selena Gomez Spotted Cheering Justin Bieber on at Hockey Game Amid Breakup Rumors," 1 Feb. 2018 The President of the United States, ladies and gentleman., "Sex And The City," 6 June 2018 Ladies and gentleman, Jerome Faulkner is that pitmaster. Andy Staples,, "Mud Pits, Red Tape and the Texas Turnaround Long in Coming," 9 Apr. 2018 Ladies and gentlemen, start your clippers Just a little off the top, please: The fourth annual Midwest Barber Competition takes place at the Wisconsin Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Things to do in Milwaukee this weekend, from Bastille Days and World Cup finale to historic Harleys," 12 July 2018 Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, of the great state of Montana. Fox News, "Ben Shapiro blasts 'idiotic' Statue of Liberty protest," 6 July 2018 Then the captain came on the loudspeaker and said, ‘Ladies and gentleman, there’s a technical issue., "His business is like time sharing for airplanes," 19 May 2018 Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the host of the Laugh Track column, a man who can't finish his own sentences ... Mike McIntyre. Michael K. Mcintyre,, "Josh Wolf headlines Hilarities, Cocoa Brown is at the Improv and Dane Cook adds a show at the Hard Rock," 10 May 2018

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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Statistics for gentleman

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gentleman

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

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More Definitions for gentleman



English Language Learners Definition of gentleman

: a man who treats other people in a proper and polite way

: a man of high social status


gen·​tle·​man | \ˈjen-tᵊl-mən \
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

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Comments on gentleman

What made you want to look up gentleman? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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