noun, often attributive
la·​dy | \ ˈlā-dē How to pronounce lady (audio) \
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


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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 Piglet paid homage to his lady love in his clue package. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, "'Masked Singer': Crab overheats onstage, Wildcard Bulldog is cut the night he's unleashed," 8 Apr. 2021 Remember gossiping about seeing that guy from marketing and that lady from IT sneaking out together? Megan Greenwell, Wired, "Help! My Colleague Is Taking Credit for My Work," 7 Apr. 2021 On one pullover knit from House of Sunny, the screen print features a lady diving topless into a pool while Collina Strada printed smiley faces on sweatsuit sets—what could be more delightful than that? Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Spring’s Maximalist Prints Will Give You Something to Smile About," 4 Apr. 2021 The Missing & Murdered Unit will build upon the work of a 2019 task force dedicated to these cases, called Operation lady Justice. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, "As Deb Haaland creates unit to investigate missing and murdered Native Americans, a look at why it's necessary," 4 Apr. 2021 So hopefully by the time the virus gets to the lady at the desk, there’s no virus. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Progressive Field changes 2021: You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers," 2 Apr. 2021 The old grand lady in the new dress will welcome her first guests in early May (the exact opening date is still pending)., "This grand old lady is almost ready to show off her new look," 27 Mar. 2021 No other combination of lady and dresses was ever as beguiling. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Incomparable Audrey Hepburn," 26 Mar. 2021 The pair of six-panel screens from the Edo period depicts two scenes that have been connected to a classic work of Japanese literature from the early 11th century, The Tale of Genji written by noblewoman and lady in waiting Murasaki Shikibu. Roger Catlin, Smithsonian Magazine, "Honor the Tradition of Viewing Cherry Blossoms in These Signature Japanese Works of Art," 25 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for lady

Time Traveler

The first known use of lady was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lady.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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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
informal : a man's girlfriend


la·​dy | \ ˈlā-dē How to pronounce lady (audio) \
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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