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, skirt [slang], 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

Wallison Silva Araújo, a wiry 19-year-old, had long been suspected of carrying out a spate of violent robberies, including tying up an elderly lady and leaving her to die at the bottom of a well. Samantha Pearson, WSJ, "In Latin America, Awash in Crime, Citizens Impose Their Own Brutal Justice," 6 Dec. 2018 Surely, this is a time where many ladies wish to foment a rebellion. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "With Kavanaugh Confirmed, It’s Time to Burn It Down," 6 Oct. 2018 There’s a car chase, ticking time bombs, a lady love interest (the only one in the series), and enough revenge schemes to fuel a whole season of television. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Review: Yakuza Kiwami 2 gets cleaned up for PS4," 28 Aug. 2018 Then, the iguanas begin crawling forward, causing both ladies to shout in shock. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Dueling iguanas hold up traffic in Florida Starbucks parking lot," 24 June 2018 This young lady is both the best friend my daughter has ever had and a bright young girl who could really benefit from this school, which has far more resources to help her get college scholarships than her public school would. Carolyn Hax, The Seattle Times, "Friend’s family rebuffed tuition offer; how else can they help this student?," 13 Nov. 2018 Being a lady with lots of things is nothing to be ashamed of. Tara Gonzalez, Glamour, "Fall's Newest Bag Trend? Carrying Everything You Own," 10 Oct. 2018 Offstage, the ladies of Dreamcatcher are less Marilyn Manson and more Marilyn Monroe, though. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Dreamcatcher Is the Goth-Inspired Girl Group Shaking Up the K-Pop World," 11 Sep. 2018 The Home Edit ladies are big fans of Marie Kondo's file-fold method for tees and gym clothes. Danielle Tullo, House Beautiful, "This Is Exactly How You Can Recreate Jessie James Decker's Rainbow Closet," 15 Aug. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on lady

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lady

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


having a pattern of small flowers

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