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From Middle English gentilwoman, modelled after gentilman (“gentleman”), equivalent to gentle + -woman.
gentlewoman (plural gentlewomen)
- (historical) A woman of the nobility.
- c. 1606 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene i]:
- Gentlewoman: Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her night-gown upon […]
- (US, politics) A female member of a legislature, especially a female member of a House of Representatives.
- 1998 December 11, “GENTLEWOMEN AND GENTLEMEN DON'T SAY 'LADY'”, in Daily Press:
- 'The gentlewoman from California.' Or 'the gentlewoman from Texas.' Gentlewoman?
woman of the nobility
- English terms inherited from Middle English
- English terms derived from Middle English
- English terms suffixed with -woman
- English 4-syllable words
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- en:Female people