Definition of gentleman in US English:


nounPlural gentlemen

  • 1A chivalrous, courteous, or honorable man.

    ‘he behaved like a perfect gentleman’
    • ‘A gentleman to his fingertips, Mattie commanded great regard and respect wherever he went.’
    • ‘I'd like to point out that I was the perfect gentlemen throughout, and my question was as a result of the picture next to the chatbox - I was wondering how intelligent she was.’
    • ‘There are few men left in this world and I'm almost positive gentlemen are extinct.’
    • ‘He was always the perfect gentleman, courteous and kind in his dealings with others.’
    • ‘Jessica smiled as she followed him to his table, he pulled her chair out for her like the perfect gentlemen he was or was most of the time anyway.’
    • ‘‘He was an honourable man and a gentleman and brightened every room with his presence,’ his older brother Keenan last night said.’
    • ‘They appreciate their men for being gentlemen and treating them like women.’
    • ‘Women still found it desirable to behave in a ladylike manner and men strove to be gentlemen.’
    • ‘Robinson was a gentleman, unfailingly courteous, with inexhaustible enthusiasm.’
    • ‘They say matter-of-factly that the males around them do not know how to act like either men or gentlemen.’
    • ‘Far from it, they are good men, true gentlemen, and deservedly interesting characters in their own right.’
    • ‘Staff described him as a man who had time for everyone and was always polite and a true gentleman.’
    • ‘Sheila said he had been a gentleman, a man of dignity and integrity, who always had a smile on his face and was proud to be from York.’
    • ‘The actor endeared himself to the locals as a real gentleman, modest and polite and always ready to meet the people.’
    • ‘We walked up to the whites hill reserve and I got mud all over my white denim jeans, Anthony holding onto my waist and being a perfect gentleman.’
    • ‘All of the townspeople were courteous and kind, and even the young men became complete gentlemen whenever she was near.’
    • ‘My parents had been in on this plan for the last six weeks, because as my dad informed me, Jeff had been a perfect gentleman, and asked their blessing before proposing to me.’
    • ‘Dylan, being a perfect gentleman (how cute, I might add), opened the door for me.’
    • ‘It's nice being around guys that are gentlemen.’
    • ‘Maybe I just favored Nick's view because he's always been a perfect gentleman every time I've met him.’
    1. 1.1 A man of good social position, especially one of wealth and leisure.
      • ‘The book opens with Smith's capable pursuit of a disoriented country gentleman.’
      • ‘He had some medical training, then spent the rest of his life as a leisured gentleman in Dublin and London.’
      • ‘That the men are well-dressed gentlemen is not lost on Mary, who witnesses the abduction.’
      • ‘A Texan gentleman with private means, he has been the eminence grise behind four relatively liberal Texas governors.’
      • ‘What writers have to remember is that their precious novels are not read by leisured gentlemen, for two or three hours at a time, in the peace and quiet of a country-house library.’
      • ‘The nature of the Civil War battlefield reinforced this gentlemen's dynamic because men could actually observe one another in combat.’
      • ‘Perhaps it was then that within the Royal Navy an officer's entry status was that of an officer by education and a gentleman by social background and manners.’
      • ‘It was common practice for a gentleman to make a financial commitment to an actress or a courtesan he wanted to keep.’
      • ‘He gazes at us with disdain; the epitome of a Georgian gentleman, secure in the trappings of his position, his satin waistcoat barely restraining his ample paunch.’
      • ‘Over time the issue was complicated by the idea of the gentleman, a social construct which could incorporate all members of the peerage and gentry.’
      • ‘It's been said that golf is the sport of noblemen and gentlemen, which might explain why the game's in quite so much trouble.’
      • ‘At social gatherings eligible gentlemen would draw lots bearing ladies' names on the eve of St Valentine's Day.’
      • ‘Nineteenth-century British society distinguished clearly between aristocrats, gentlemen, and common workingmen.’
      • ‘But for a gentleman of Arthur's wealth and taste, surely a more conventional beauty would have been appropriate?’
      • ‘It's dressed up as a 200-year-old tradition - gentlemen making formal wagers for port or champagne in a beautiful leather-bound ledger.’
      • ‘It seems as if everyone is so concerned with reputation and wealth and well-founded gentlemen.’
      • ‘It's for the civilised gentlemen of Edinburgh, men like me who relish the finer things in life.’
      • ‘They generally have been to the good universities and are members of the better gentlemen's clubs in Melbourne and Sydney.’
      • ‘General Brice took their hands into his, kissing Daria's like a country gentleman.’
      • ‘As to good breeding, the new gentlemen in Australia pushed their ancestors as far up the social scale as they dared.’
      man, fellow
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (in the UK) a man of noble birth attached to a royal household.
      • ‘For British High Society, the Ascot meeting is the fashion event of the year, with the ladies parading in full finery and gentlemen sporting elegant top hats and tails in the Royal enclosure.’
      • ‘While gentlemen of the aristocracy lounged at the National Theatre, drunken throngs hooted at busty showgirls in the latest burlesque revues.’
      • ‘He led the way to the royal stables, the rest if his gentlemen following him.’
      • ‘Great aristocrats no more become gentlemen of the bedchamber out of subservience than they became grooms of the stool out of a desire to wipe the royal bottom.’
      • ‘He is an officer and a gentleman by royal decree.’
      • ‘Spenser informed Ralegh that his ‘general end’ was ‘to fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline’.’
      • ‘The amount of campaign furniture that would have accompanied an officer and a gentleman such as Lord Auckland was on a scale worthy of the British Empire itself.’
      • ‘Due to the diligence of the admiral and good support from the Royal Tribunal, all the gentlemen and noblemen, and all those who had a horse in the city followed him.’
      • ‘The English were in the overall command of Charles, Lord Cornwallis, a gentleman from Wessex.’
      • ‘In the Victorian world presented in the film, the gentlemen of the aristocracy believe that moral progress is symbolized by the very fact of their wealth and power.’
      • ‘Hunting and hawking were popular among the gentlemen of early Tudor England because they enjoyed it, but there was more to this interest than the obsession of the enthusiast.’
      • ‘He was knighted, given the estates of the abbey of Wilton, and appointed a gentleman of the bedchamber.’
      • ‘The second man was in the North, a gentleman by birth.’
      • ‘Even in locations where members of the royal family were due to stay in the home of a local gentleman, knight or nobleman, further lodgings were needed in the vicinity for the large number of other personnel in the train.’
      • ‘A gentleman or a person of noble birth to be seen perspiring wasn't recommended.’
      • ‘This was certainly good food by Tudor standards but it paled compared to the sumptuous meals served to the more senior courtiers, such as the gentlemen of the privy chamber.’
      • ‘The ladies rode on palfreys or were drawn on litters, escorted by gentlemen, squires and pages, with trumpeters, drummers and minstrels.’
      • ‘There is no such thing as class among the truly noble, among compleat gentlemen.’
      • ‘He was made a gentleman of the bedchamber and employed on important diplomatic and military missions.’
      • ‘Tall, well built, handsome, intelligent, graceful, he was everything a gentleman and noble should be.’
  • 2A polite or formal way of referring to a man.

    ‘opposite her an old gentleman sat reading’
    • ‘A gentleman by the name of Martin responded to my e-mail.’
    • ‘I want to thank these two gentlemen for serving their country so well and so admirably.’
    • ‘A moment later a somewhat short gentleman in a simple black suit entered Christopher's office.’
    • ‘Music and song were close to his heart and he was a welcome gentleman at any social occasion in the village and neighbourhood.’
    • ‘I was walking along the Venice Beach walk when I passed two gentlemen wearing suits.’
    • ‘Plenty of biographies have been written about each of these gentlemen individually.’
    • ‘They must be upstanding young gentlemen to be hanging around you two, " Sarah inserted plainly.’
    • ‘In addition, instead of fashionably dressed young ladies stationed at the gate to usher in the movie-goers, formally attired old gentlemen will be assigned to do the job.’
    • ‘On this woman's right, on the other side of the table from Stanson, two older English-looking gentlemen sat quietly.’
    • ‘The young gentleman looked positively delighted that she had noticed him.’
    • ‘I exclaimed, my mouth agape and my finger pointing straight at the gentleman in question.’
    • ‘Jo entered the sunroom, followed by a gentleman in a suit and glasses.’
    • ‘Could you ask the gentleman next to you whether he is the applicant.’
    • ‘‘In Texas, I heard that a gentleman won the contest through a local radio station,’ Renna says.’
    • ‘For those of you who visited York Livestock Centre, you will remember the bewhiskered gentleman who manned the sweetshop and tended the gardens.’
    • ‘Anyway - halfway through the evening I met this charming shirtless gentleman called Claudio.’
    • ‘Her daughter, Shirley, had married a bearded gentleman by the name of Thomas Garner.’
    • ‘The first gentleman behind the counter said they didn't make their ground beef with chuck.’
    • ‘On the bus on my way home, I was very polite to an elderly gentleman by offering him my side of the seat where he'd be more comfortable.’
    • ‘He was the only distinguished looking gentleman wearing a black cape with a scarlet lining.’
    1. 2.1gentlemen Used as a polite form of address to a group of men.
      ‘“Can I help you, gentlemen?”’
      • ‘Today the U.S. trade deficit, gentlemen, as you both know, is the second highest monthly trade deficit on record.’
      • ‘And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why man needs a code of ethics.’
      • ‘As they entered and moved into the field of focus the designated cameraman called out: ‘Caps off, gentlemen!’’
      • ‘‘Thank you for your offer, gentlemen,’ he says.’
      • ‘I am taken by the fact that three days into this project, gentlemen, there have been no incidents of violence.’
      • ‘We thank you very much for being here, gentlemen.’
      • ‘Thanks for your perspective on this, gentlemen.’
      • ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I urge you to make wise decisions and not follow the multitude to do evil.’
      • ‘We're going to have to leave it there, gentlemen.’
      • ‘The only rule we had for this debate, gentlemen, was that I would get to ask another question, and you broke the last vestige of rule-making.’
      • ‘This man, ladies and gentlemen, wanted to be a U.S. Senator, and now wants to be a state Governor.’
      • ‘The future of mankind has been set in ink and, gentlemen, you might want to sit yourselves down for the results.’
      • ‘All right, gentlemen, we covered a lot of turf.’
      • ‘Let fairness prevail in your decisions, gentlemen.’
      • ‘‘Dig deep into your pockets, gentlemen,’ he kept on insisting as the 20 and odd paintings were displayed for bids.’
      • ‘Pausing at the bedside of a doubtful case, he said: ‘Now, gentlemen, do you think that this is, or is not, a case for operation?’’
      • ‘Well good morning ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Royal Society.’
      • ‘All right, gentlemen, first of all, you've had some great adventures finding serious treasures.’
      • ‘Thanks for joining me here tonight, gentlemen.’
      • ‘By the way, we are told, gentlemen, there definitely will be a private funeral service and a public memorial service, the dates to be announced.’
    2. 2.2 Used as a courteous designation for a male fellow member of the US House of Representatives.
      • ‘And accordingly Mr Speaker gave the thanks of the house to Major Clayton, chairman, and the rest of the gentlemen of the said committee.’
      • ‘And ladies and gentlemen of the Congress, I thank you, their representatives, for what you have already done and for what we will do together.’
      • ‘Senator, thank you for joining us, a fine gentleman and a fine representative from the state of Missouri.’
      • ‘I often wonder, if the honourable gentleman was Speaker, whether he would then be able to confront some of the difficulties of his own questions and requests.’
      • ‘In the tradition of the House, the gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 minutes.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘man of noble birth’): from gentle + man, translating Old French gentilz hom. In later use the term denoted a man of a good family (especially one entitled to a coat of arms) but not of the nobility.