gen·​try ˈjen-trē How to pronounce gentry (audio)
plural gentries
: upper or ruling class : aristocracy
: a class whose members are entitled to bear a coat of arms though not of noble rank
especially : wealthy landowners having such status
: people of a specified class or kind : folks
no real heroes or heroines among the academic gentryR. G. Hanvey
: the condition or rank of a gentleman
obsolete : the qualities appropriate to a person of gentle (see gentle entry 1 sense 4a) birth
especially : courtesy

Examples of gentry in a Sentence

poor tenant farmers working for landed gentry the old-line yachting gentry frowns on vulgar displays of wealth
Recent Examples on the Web One is that high turnout now probably helps Republicans and hurts Democrats, whose gentry liberals vote no matter what. Michael Barone, Orange County Register, 14 Feb. 2024 One of the half novels offers a familiar, wryly satirical portrait of callow members of the British gentry. Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic, 30 Jan. 2024 Black Lives Matter, a Marxist organization embraced by gentry liberals, says the traditional family is a racist institution. Washington Examiner, 21 Nov. 2023 Theatre has always loved a good property-in-peril story: Theban royals fighting for a throne; struggling salesmen worrying about their mortgages; Russian gentry losing their cherry orchards. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 7 Dec. 2023 Large chunks were held by corporations and by the aristocracy and gentry, often following boundaries that were relics of the land divisions and gifts made after the Norman Conquest in 1066. Brooke Jarvis, New York Times, 26 July 2023 Navy and marine shore patrolmen were dispatched to areas on Market st. and in Logan Heights to quell any disorders which were feared when word came that the long-haired, baggy-trousered gentry were arriving here. Merrie Monteagudo, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 June 2023 Throughout the years, Arnn has accrued another powerful set of Hillsdale allies: small-city-gentry types, who have often made modest fortunes in obscure industries, and who have been persuaded to dedicate some of their life’s earnings to the school despite not having attended. Emma Green, The New Yorker, 3 Apr. 2023 It's caught the fancy of the cultural gentry. Arkansas Online, 28 Dec. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gentry.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English gentrie "high birth or rank, properties ideally characteristic of those of high birth, the wellborn collectively," borrowed from Anglo-French genterie "high birth," from gent "of aristocratic birth" + -erie -ery — more at gent entry 1

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3b

Time Traveler
The first known use of gentry was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near gentry

Cite this Entry

“Gentry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


gen·​try ˈjen-trē How to pronounce gentry (audio)
plural gentries
: people of high social status : aristocracy

More from Merriam-Webster on gentry

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