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gentle +‎ man, calque of French gentilhomme.


  • IPA(key): /ˈdʒɛnl̩.mən/, /ˈdʒɪnl̩.mən/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: gentle‧man


gentleman ‎(plural gentlemen)

  1. A well‐mannered or charming man.
  2. A man of breeding or higher class.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, The Celebrity:
      I corralled the judge, and we started off across the fields, in no very mild state of fear of that gentleman's wife, whose vigilance was seldom relaxed.
    • 1915, George A. Birmingham, Gossamer, chapterI:
      As a political system democracy seems to me extraordinarily foolish, []. My servant is, so far as I am concerned, welcome to as many votes as he can get. [] I do not suppose that it matters much in reality whether laws are made by dukes or cornerboys, but I like, as far as possible, to associate with gentlemen in private life.
  3. A polite term referring to a man.
    Please direct this gentleman to the menswear department.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      “[…] This is Mr. Churchill, who, as you are aware, is good enough to come to us for his diaconate, and, as we hope, for much longer; and being a gentleman of independent means, he declines to take any payment.” Saying this Walden rubbed his hands together and smiled contentedly.
  4. (in plural only, gentlemen) A polite form of address to a group of men.
    Follow me, gentlemen.
  5. (in plural possessive, gentlemen's) Toilets intended for use by men.
  6. (cricket) A cricketer of independent wealth, who does not (require to) get paid to play the sport.
  7. (euphemistic, of a man) Amateur.
    • 2004, Mary N. Woods, "The First Professional: Benjamin Henry Latrobe", in, Keith L. Eggener, editor, American Architectural History: A Contemporary Reader, Routledge, electronic edition, ISBN 0203643682, p.119 [1]:
      Latrobe had extensive dealings with Jefferson, the most prominent gentleman-architect in the United States.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (gentlemen, form of address): The equivalent form of address to one man is Sir.



Related terms[edit]

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Most common English words before 1923: paper · object · faith · #607: gentleman · persons · wrote · chief



Borrowing from English gentleman.


gentleman m ‎(plural gentlemen)

  1. gentleman, especially an anglophone one


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