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

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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 Even Breyer, the book is about a group of ladies in Eastern Kentucky who brave treacherous conditions to deliver books to people in the rural mountains. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "'The Giver of Stars,' Jojo Moyes' Latest Historical Novel, Is Surprisingly Modern," 2 Dec. 2019 Plenty of famous ladies have been ditching the editing apps and keeping things real on social media. Christina Oehler,, "Katie Holmes Posted an Unedited Photo of Her Stretch Marks on Instagram, and Fans Are Loving It," 27 Nov. 2019 One night on the graveyard shift, Mayo watched a cleaning lady push her cart down a darkened hallway. USA Today, "A security empire deployed guards with violent pasts across the U.S. Some went on to rape, assault or kill," 31 Oct. 2019 Thus, Lucha becomes determined to recreate that sound with the help of four other ladies, none of whom is musically adept — against her father’s wishes. Tom Titus, Daily Pilot, "On Theater: A stirring ‘American Mariachi’ at South Coast Repertory," 18 Sep. 2019 While rich dark mahogany appealed to men dining in the café, the floral architectural flourishes and white linen table cloths added an air of femininity for the ladies who lunched there. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "The English Hotel and Opera House was the grand lady of Monument Circle," 14 Aug. 2019 The young ladies at Reach Opportunity Center in Akron found a way to spread some GOTR love by tying their Community Impact Project into their own end of season celebration. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland, "Girls on the Run give back to their communities: Talk of the Towns," 21 Nov. 2019 After the feast, the bride was undressed by her ladies and put to bed. Brian Fagan, Quartzy, "The bizarre 77,000-year history of beds," 4 Oct. 2019 His leading lady is a star in her own right: Megan Fox. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "Here Are All the 'BH90210' Stars' Relationship Statuses in Real Life," 8 Aug. 2019

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

10 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Lady.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 12 December 2019.

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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

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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).


a period of high artistic development

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