gen·​try | \ ˈjen-trē How to pronounce gentry (audio) \
plural gentries

Definition of gentry

1a : upper or ruling class : aristocracy
b : a class whose members are entitled to bear a coat of arms though not of noble rank especially : wealthy landowners having such status
2 : people of a specified class or kind : folks no real heroes or heroines among the academic gentry— R. G. Hanvey
3a : the condition or rank of a gentleman
b obsolete : the qualities appropriate to a person of gentle (see gentle entry 1 sense 4a) birth especially : courtesy

Keep scrolling for more

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 During his lifetime, the powers-that-be in California turned from conservatives and liberals alike who favored the gentry to true-blue progressives devoted to uplifting the same underserved communities for whom Reynoso alway advocated. Los Angeles Times, 8 May 2021 The confident brother is landed gentry and wants to buy Thea's house, which abuts his property. Laurie Hertzel, Star Tribune, 7 May 2021 These evenings — populated by locals, out-of-towners, East Fort Lauderdale gentry, politicos and regular Joes — are filled with laughs, tears, hugs, impromptu songs and intimate stories about the personal warmth and kindness of its proprietor. Ben Crandell,, 9 Apr. 2021 There are also the sisters themselves, local gentry. Sigrid Macrae, Harper's Magazine, 16 Mar. 2021 Southern gentry, though, Houston was not willing to shed blood to expand slavery. Jeffrey L. Littlejohn, Chron, 11 Mar. 2021 The protesters, a mix of the local Standing Rock Sioux (the pipeline passed within a half-mile of their reservation) and liberal urban gentry from out of state, occupied a plot of land for months, hoping to prevent construction. David Freddoso, Washington Examiner, 4 Mar. 2021 The point is to inject some life into an issue typically ignored by all but white urban gentry liberals by making it into a racial issue instead. David Freddoso, Washington Examiner, 4 Mar. 2021 Just as China, with its opulent palaces, porcelain and scholar-gentry, would dominate the landscape of Western imagination, Persia invited its own share of adventurers. Washington Post, 26 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gentry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of gentry

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

History and Etymology for gentry

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gentry

Time Traveler for gentry

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for gentry

Last Updated

20 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gentry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gentry


gen·​try | \ ˈjen-trē How to pronounce gentry (audio) \

Kids Definition of gentry

: people of high social status


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!