lady


lady
ladyhood, n.ladyish, adj.ladyishly, adv.ladyishness, n.ladyless, adj.
/lay"dee/, n., pl. ladies, adj.
n.
1. a woman who is refined, polite, and well-spoken: She may be poor and have little education, but she's a real lady.
2. a woman of high social position or economic class: She was born a lady and found it hard to adjust to her reduced circumstances.
3. any woman; female (sometimes used in combination): the lady who answered the phone; a saleslady.
4. (Used in direct address: often offensive in the singular): Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. Lady, out of my way, please.
5. wife: The ambassador and his lady arrived late.
6. Slang. a female lover or steady companion.
7. (cap.) (in Great Britain) the proper title of any woman whose husband is higher in rank than baronet or knight, or who is the daughter of a nobleman not lower than an earl (although the title is given by courtesy also to the wives of baronets and knights).
8. a woman who has proprietary rights or authority, as over a manor; female feudal superior. Cf. lord (def. 4).
9. (cap.) the Virgin Mary.
10. a woman who is the object of chivalrous devotion.
11. (usually cap.)
a. an attribute or abstraction personified as a woman; a designation of an allegorical figure as feminine: Lady Fortune; Lady Virtue.
b. a title prefixed to the name of a goddess: Lady Venus.
adj.
12. Sometimes Offensive. being a lady; female: a lady reporter.
13. of a lady; ladylike; feminine.
[bef. 900; ME ladi(e), earlier lavedi, OE hlaefdige, hlaefdige, perh. orig. meaning "loaf-kneader," equiv. to hlaf LOAF + -dige, -dige, var. of daege kneader (see DOUGH; cf. ON deigja maid); see LORD]
Usage. In the meanings "refined, polite woman" and "woman of high social position" the noun LADY is the parallel of gentleman. As forms of address, both nouns are used in the plural (Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your cooperation), but only LADY occurs in the singular. Except in chivalrous, literary, or similar contexts (Lady, spurn me not), this singular is now usually perceived as rude or at least insensitive: Where do you want the new air conditioner, lady? Although LADY is still found in phrases or compounds referring to occupation or the like (cleaning lady; forelady; saleslady), this use seems to be diminishing.
The use of LADY as a modifier (lady doctor; lady artist) suggests that it is unusual to find a woman in the role specified. Many women are offended by this use, and it too is becoming less common.
An approach that is increasingly followed is to avoid specifying the sex of the performer or practitioner. Person or a sex-neutral term can be substituted for LADY, as cleaner for cleaning lady, supervisor for forelady, and salesperson or salesclerk for saleslady. When circumstances make it relevant to specify sex, woman not LADY is used, the parallel term being man: Men doctors outnumber women doctors on the hospital staff by more than three to one. See also -person, -woman.
Syn. See woman.

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(as used in expressions)
Lady Diana Frances Spencer
Godey's Lady's Book
Godiva Lady
Gregory Augusta Lady
Grey Lady Jane
Hamilton Emma Lady
lady's slipper
Montagu Lady Mary Wortley
Lady Mary Pierrepont
Lady Augusta Ada Byron

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▪ British peerage
      in the British Isles, a general title for any peeress below the rank of duchess and also for the wife of a baronet or of a knight. Before the Hanoverian succession, when the use of “princess” became settled practice, royal daughters were styled Lady Forename or the Lady Forename. “Lady” is ordinarily used as a less formal alternative to the full title of a countess, viscountess, or baroness; where the name is territorial, the “of ” is dropped—thus the Vicountess of A. but Lady A. The daughters of dukes, marquesses, and earls also have, by courtesy, the title of lady prefixed to their forename and surname—e.g., Lady Jane Grey.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Lady — La dy (l[=a] d[y^]), n.; pl. {Ladies} (l[=a] d[i^]z). [OE. ladi, l[ae]fdi, AS. hl[=ae]fdige, hl[=ae]fdie; AS. hl[=a]f loaf + a root of uncertain origin, possibly akin to E. dairy. See {Loaf}, and cf. {Lord}.] [1913 Webster] 1. A woman who looks… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • lady — lady, woman The division of usage between these two words is complex and is caught up in issues of social class. In George Meredith s Evan Harrington (1861), the heroine, Rose Jocelyn, is rhetorically asked, Would you rather be called a true… …   Modern English usage

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  • Lady Wu — (? 202) was the wife of Sun Jian during the Three Kingdoms era of China. She had six children: five sons, Sun Ce, Sun Quan, Sun Yi, Sun Kuang, Sun Lang and one daughter, Sun Shangxiang. Lady Wu lost her parents at a young age and was living with… …   Wikipedia

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  • lady — s.f. Titlu dat în Anglia soţiei unui lord sau a unui cavaler; p. ext. doamnă nobilă din Anglia. ♦ Epitet dat unei femei distinse, manierate. [pr.: lédi] – cuv. engl. Trimis de LauraGellner, 16.05.2004. Sursa: DEX 98  LADY s.f. (Anglicism) Doamnă …   Dicționar Român

  • lady — ► NOUN (pl. ladies) 1) (in polite or formal use) a woman. 2) a woman of superior social position. 3) (Lady) a title used by peeresses, female relatives of peers, the wives and widows of knights, etc. 4) a courteous or genteel woman. 5) (the Lad …   English terms dictionary

  • lady — [lād′ē] n. pl. ladies [ME lavedi < OE hlæfdige, lady, mistress < hlaf, LOAF1 + dige < dæge, (bread) kneader < IE base * dheig̑h : see DOUGH] 1. the mistress of a household: now obsolete except in the phrase the lady of the house 2. a… …   English World dictionary


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