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 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 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 gentlemanlike (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 But more importantly, Phil was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter, "Phil Lengyel, Longtime Disney Marketing Executive, Dies at 70," 9 Jan. 2020 To make things even better, the hunters who took these giants (Steven Tucker and Luke Brewster) were modest, appreciative gentlemen who did the sport of deer hunting proud. The Editors, Field & Stream, "The 20 Best Bucks of the Decade," 27 Dec. 2019 Laurie is a teenage gentleman of means who has lived most of his life in Europe but who, after the death of his mother, moves in with his grandfather, the Marches’ stately next-door neighbor, Mr. Laurence (a wonderful, whiskery Chris Cooper). Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Greta Gerwig’s Invigorating Little Women Adaptation Is Pure Pleasure to Watch," 23 Dec. 2019 Peter is pulling out all the stops and being a major gentleman, and Lara Jean is just excited to be on her first date. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, ""To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You" Trailer Will Leave You in a Puddle on the Floor," 19 Dec. 2019 Gutiérrez: My vision is to build upon what these two great gentlemen have left, to continue to build upon the high quality programming that best meets the needs of the community. Jesse Garza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Newly named UCC leader is first woman and first from the neighborhood to lead the agency," 26 Nov. 2019 Or else, the monocle-wearer is a sinister European gentleman. Austin Grossman, The Atlantic, "Monocles Were Never Cool," 13 Oct. 2019 Van Kleef said a store employee identified Hayden, a 25-year-old Aloha man, as one of two gentlemen who walked into the ice cream shop on Tuesday and ordered ice cream cones. Andrew Theen | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Cold Stone Creamery car thieves caught after locking themselves out of stolen vehicle, deputies say," 11 Oct. 2019 At the start of the proceedings, a clump of tumbleweed bowls along desert sands, followed, somewhat surprisingly, by two gentlemen in formal evening wear. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Villains Hog the Spotlight in “The Laundromat”," 20 Sep. 2019

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

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gentleman.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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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

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


good-natured easy friendliness

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