noun, often attributive
la·dy | \ˈlā-dē \
plural ladies

Definition of lady 

1a : a woman having proprietary rights or authority especially as a feudal superior

b : a woman receiving the homage or devotion of a knight or lover

2 capitalized : virgin mary usually used with Our

3a : a woman of superior social position

b : a woman of refinement and gentle manners

c : woman, female often used in a courteous reference show the lady to a seat or usually in the plural in address ladies and gentlemen

5a : any of various titled women in Great Britain used as the customary title of (1) a marchioness, countess, viscountess, or baroness or (2) the wife of a knight, baronet, member of the peerage, or one having the courtesy title of lord and used as a courtesy title for the daughter of a duke, marquess, or earl

b : a woman who is a member of an order of knighthood — compare dame

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Synonyms for lady


female, woman

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Examples of lady in a Sentence

Her mother was always telling her to act like a lady. He bumped into some lady walking to the bus stop. He helped a little old lady cross the street.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The confidence of these ladies leaks out of the screen! Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "Aerie Is Featuring Models With Disabilities and Illnesses," 11 July 2018 These ladies genuinely care about and support each other. Trenesha N Striggles, azcentral, "Here's the shows you should binge-watch while it's hot outside," 27 June 2018 Here are five ladies actively working to change the face of the sport. Brendan Leonard, Outside Online, "20 Things That Take Longer Than the Nose Ascent," 18 June 2018 Yet another white lady upset over what black people were doing. Rachael Herron, Vox, "As a 911 dispatcher, I had to treat every call seriously — even the racist ones," 30 May 2018 This isn’t a meal these ladies would normally get to have. Kara Baskin,, "Getting Salty with chef Sherry Hughes," 23 May 2018 Imagine if that young lady was your sister or cousin. Darcel Rockett,, "Familiar questions about ‘bystander effect’ arise after man berates woman for Puerto Rico shirt," 12 July 2018 Ernest Hemingway, however, was not ever one to let a lady go unattended. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Hemingway’s Last Girl," 12 July 2018 Before proposing to on-and-off girlfriend and model Hailey Baldwin on Saturday, Justin Bieber had a few other ladies under his arm. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "A Timeline of Justin Bieber's Dating History," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lady.' 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 lady

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for lady

Middle English, from Old English hlǣfdige, from hlāf bread + -dige (akin to dǣge kneader of bread) — more at loaf, dairy

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More Definitions for lady



English Language Learners Definition of lady

: a woman who behaves in a polite way

: a woman of high social position

: a man's girlfriend


la·dy | \ˈlā-dē \
plural ladies

Kids Definition of lady

1 : a woman of high social position

2 : a woman or girl who behaves in a polite way

3 : woman sense 1 The lady behind me was first.

4 : wife

5 : a British noblewoman used as a title Lady Jane Grey

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Comments on lady

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