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 The new cut, angling to be an anthem of summer 2021, offers the female perspective on the requests made in T-Pain's previous song — to buy the lady a beverage and eventually take her home with him. Jolie Lash,, "T-Pain teams up with Kehlani for sequel to 'Buy U a Drank'," 14 May 2021 After pulling into Gare de Lyon, my brothers and I waited in the hot taxi while my mother helped the lady from Bratislava get her next train to Nîmes. Alexander Lobrano, WSJ, "My Life-Changing Trip to Europe as a Food-Obsessed Teenager," 11 May 2021 The lady at the draft board said Washington wanted me in the Army. Washington Post, "Lloyd Price, R&B star who helped lay the foundation of rock-and-roll, dies at 88," 8 May 2021 For the truly style-savvy lady, look no further than Michael Kors. Arielle Tschinkel, USA TODAY, "Last-minute Mother's Day gifts are hugely discounted at Michael Kors with 2-day shipping," 5 May 2021 Mother’s Day to indulge the special lady in your life with brunch, dinner or a culinary treat. Rod Stafford Hagwood,, "It’s not too early to make a restaurant reservation for Mother’s Day," 12 Apr. 2021 Next, the lady and her servants would test and tweak each recipe. Olivia Campbell, Smithsonian Magazine, "Part of Being a Domestic Goddess in 17th Century Europe Was Making Medicines," 1 Mar. 2021 But the film is generally at its best when watching, and listening to, the lady sing. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'The United States vs. Billie Holiday' lets Andra Day deliver its high notes," 26 Feb. 2021 First lady Jill Biden travels to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and visits First Choice Community Healthcare, South Valley Medical Center with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham at 2:30 p.m. MT. Rick Klein, Averi Harper, ABC News, "Profound moment finds Biden in wake of Chauvin verdict: The Note," 21 Apr. 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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Statistics for lady

Last Updated

18 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lady.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 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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