ladies and gentlemen

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ladies and gentlemen pl (plural only)

  1. Used to address an audience.
    • 1996, “The Cambridge History of American Literature”, in Sacvan Bercovitch, editor, Poetry and criticism, 1940-1995, volume 8, page 408:
      [] a Master of Ceremonies' words "Ladies and gentlemen" [] interpellates those being addressed as an audience, and one that is differentiated by gender.
  2. (rare and euphemistic) Public toilets: a ladies' room and a gentlemen's room.
    • 1941, Joyce Cary, chapter XLIV, in Herself Surprised, page 108:
      There are quays there and lamps and some squares of grass; a ladies and gentlemen, and a cinema.

Usage notes[edit]

When addressing an audience of all one gender, a speaker would typically use ladies (to women) or gentlemen (to men) instead. Infrequently, speakers may extend the form if other groups are in the audience; for example, "ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!". Additions such as "ladies and gentlemen, honored guests" or "ladies and gentlemen, dear friends" may be used to include people who identify as neither men nor women.

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