gentry

noun
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 1a) birth especially : courtesy

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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 Studies over the years have indicated that the rich, unlike the leisured gentry of old, tend to work longer hours and spend less time socializing. Alex Williams, New York Times, "Why Don’t Rich People Just Stop Working?," 18 Oct. 2019 Carter Hall, Pagebrook, and Long Branch were all erected after the Revolution by scions of the Tidewater gentry. Drew Gilpin Faust, The Atlantic, "Race, History, and Memories of a Virginia Girlhood," 18 July 2019 Republican efforts to reduce taxes, limit some abortions, and fund additional roads and dams had little appeal to the new gentry classes on the coast. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "What Happened to California Republicans?," 14 Nov. 2019 At each resting place, the queen was entertained by the local gentry with fêtes, balls, music and feasting. Judith Flanders, WSJ, "‘Behind the Throne’ Review: It Takes a Kingdom," 5 Oct. 2018 The books do for modern, monied Asians what Jane Austen did for the English landed gentry two centuries ago – only without the literary subtlety. The Economist, "Kevin Kwan, the quiet man behind “Crazy Rich Asians”," 9 Aug. 2019 The area’s early gentry made enough money from their land to build grand houses, but Norfolk’s relative isolation, and its featureless, flat landscape, meant the land never became so valuable that those families were tempted to cash in. Simon Usborne, Town & Country, "How Rumors of a Feud Between Kate Middleton and Rose Cholmondeley Captivated a Posh Corner of Britain," 5 Aug. 2019 Like a lot of things with this team, that needs to change post-All-Star break, especially because the schedule serves up more of MLB’s gentry. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Red Sox needed Dodgers rematch as a reminder of what they can do," 13 July 2019 Unlike a militiaman or an officer drawn from the gentry, who shared the ethos of the larger society, professionals were a breed apart whose foremost loyalty to the military caste made them a threat to liberty. William Anthony Hay, WSJ, "‘The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold’ and ‘Turncoat’ Review: His Own Worst Enemy," 24 May 2018

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.

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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

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Learn More about gentry

Time Traveler for gentry

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for gentry

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Gentry.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gentry?utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=wotd&utm_content=definition. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for gentry

gentry

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

Kids Definition of gentry

: people of high social status

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Comments on gentry

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