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 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 Although Emhoff’s future as a lawyer has generated unease, the possibility of his becoming the second gentleman has stirred curiosity among some in the Jewish community. Washington Post, "Doug Emhoff paused his career for his wife Kamala Harris’s aspirations — and became the campaign’s ‘secret weapon’," 28 Oct. 2020 All of them mourn the loss of this great gentleman, after the news on Sunday that François Catroux was no longer with us. David Netto, ELLE Decor, "L’Art de Vivre: Remembering François Catroux," 10 Nov. 2020 This gentleman identified himself as an investigator from Glynn County Police Department. Omar Villafranca, CBS News, "Attorneys for the three White men accused of killing a Black Georgia jogger offer a surprising defense," 10 Oct. 2020 In this riveting four-part miniseries, Francesca Annis plays a widow who falls hard for a new gentleman friend (Stephen Rea). Tribune News Service, cleveland, "'The Good Lord Bird’ with Ethan Hawke as abolitionist John Brown tops this week’s TV picks," 4 Oct. 2020 No, the gentleman from South Carolina was too stuck in his own conservative outrage machine. Molly Jong-fast, Vogue, "Yes, It's Time for Lindsey Graham to Go," 17 Oct. 2020 The 19th-century English clergyman John Henry Newman left us a revealing definition of a gentleman that, when broadened to include all people, offers a useful guide to decent conduct. Jon Meacham, Town & Country, "Jon Meacham on the One Thing That Might Decide This Mess of an Election: Decency," 30 Sep. 2020 Six people have been shot and two are in critical condition Monday after a mystery gunman opened fire into a crowd gathered outside a gentleman’s club in Detroit, police say. Greg Norman, Fox News, "Detroit gentleman’s club shooting leaves 6 injured, 2 critical," 28 Sep. 2020 For Meg Mathews, menopause looked like The Golden Girls—gray hair, elderly gentleman callers, chic but shapeless caftans. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, "1.3 Million Women Enter Menopause Each Year. We Have to Stop Ignoring Them," 7 Oct. 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

26 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gentleman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 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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