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 referenceshow this gentleman to a seat or usually in the plural in addressladies and gentlemen

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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 His craft stems directly from the fictional character Arsène Lupin, a gentleman thief whose genius heists were documented in a book series by author Maurice Leblanc in the early 20th century. Natalie Morin,, "Netflix’s French Heist Show Lupin Has A Very Hot — I Mean, Good — Reason For You To Watch," 12 Jan. 2021 Sy stars in this French thriller about a man whose plan to avenge his father’s death is inspired by the tales of gentleman thief Arséne Lupin. Jim Kiest,, "Catch up with ‘A Discovery of Witches’ before season two premieres on Shudder and Sundance Now," 5 Jan. 2021 First gentleman Marlon Reis was hospitalized over the weekend as a precaution after experiencing shortness of breath and a worsening cough after he was diagnosed on Nov. 28. NBC News, "Dec. 8 Coronavirus updates: British woman first to receive approved vaccine," 9 Dec. 2020 The series is a contemporary reimagining of a classic character in French detective fiction, Arsène Lupin, a gentleman thief and master of disguise who was essentially the French equivalent of Sherlock Holmes. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Lupin trailer offers a fresh retelling of classic French gentleman thief," 2 Dec. 2020 Little Noah Aharon wasn’t sure what to think of the bearded, festive gentleman on the other side of the plastic barrier. Gabrielle Russon,, "Santa’s got a plastic shield, but holidays are under way in a pandemic at Icon Park," 11 Nov. 2020 This guy was an older gentleman who really felt the need to stop his car, ring the doorbell and talk to me about this. Ben Flanagan |, al, "Stolen campaign signs will not deter these Alabama voters in 2020: ’Signs don’t vote’," 1 Nov. 2020 Emhoff, in addition to his official duties as second gentleman, will teach a two-credit course on entertainment law, according to a transition team spokesperson. Washington Post, "Kamala Harris’ husband, lawyer Doug Emhoff, to teach next semester at Georgetown," 13 Dec. 2020 Spinning records in the early days of rock ‘n’ roll, sharing thoughtful commentary or interviewing a variety of people from celebrities to politicians, disc jockey Weber was a gentleman to the core. Rick Kogan,, "Who and what we lost in 2020: From notable artists to Chicago experiences, they’re gone or changed but not forgotten," 11 Dec. 2020

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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Statistics for gentleman

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gentleman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for gentleman


How to pronounce gentleman (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gentleman

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

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Comments on gentleman

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