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 referenceshow the lady to a seat or usually in the plural in addressladies 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for lady


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web There’s an exploding planet, a very dour-looking lady, a spaceship. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Microsoft reveals the first Xbox Series X games: Watch every trailer," 7 May 2020 That had all the credibility, but none of the charm, of this young lady . The Washington Post, "Chatological Humor with Gene Weingarten," 28 Apr. 2020 There were more young ladies who landed high in the standings all four years. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "The Citizen Sports Dept. announces its Get Fit Jog All-Decade Team," 30 Mar. 2020 Obviously, director Jay Roach assembled a cast of wonderful actresses, but the movie does each of its leading ladies a disservice. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "12 Snubs and Surprises from the 2020 Oscar Nominations," 14 Jan. 2020 If all the fine ladies and gentleman could slip into their finest loungewear and make their way to the nearest screen. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "You're Invited to a "Downton Abbey" Virtual Cocktail Party at the Real Highclere Castle," 17 Apr. 2020 When the sea is vast and the ladies are scarce, what’s a lovesick male dolphin to do? Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Dolphin Boy Bands Sing ‘Pop’ Songs in Sync—and the Ladies Want It That Way," 1 Apr. 2020 The lady then asked for both copies of the form; four others handed over theirs almost simultaneously. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "I escaped Covid-19 in Europe and beat India’s lockdown, but I’m not sure I’m any safer," 18 Mar. 2020 In a candid memoir called , Margaret’s lady-in-waiting, Anne Glenconner, opened up about what the relationship between Margaret and Elizabeth was really like. Kayleigh Roberts, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Margaret's Lady-in-Waiting Spilled the Tea About Her Relationship with Queen Elizabeth," 8 Mar. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lady

Time Traveler for lady

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for lady

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lady.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lady


How to pronounce lady (audio)

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 titleLady Jane Grey

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on lady

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lady

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lady

Spanish Central: Translation of lady

Nglish: Translation of lady for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lady for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about lady

Comments on lady

What made you want to look up lady? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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