Definition of gentry in US English:



  • 1treated as singular or plural People of good social position, specifically (in the UK) the class of people next below the nobility in position and birth.

    ‘a member of the landed gentry’
    • ‘The heritage publishing specialist is also changing the way it chooses entries to reflect that the celebrities are now more likely to be role models than the landed gentry.’
    • ‘But throughout the early modern period, men from the labouring poor, and women of all ranks below the gentry, were illiterate.’
    • ‘The same seems clearly true of the conception of pedigree that came to loom so large in the social thinking of the gentry of the late medieval and early modern ages.’
    • ‘The source of ruling-class opposition was a distinct sector of the class, the landed gentry, and was perfectly rational in basis.’
    • ‘All this drew the nobility and gentry to the city.’
    • ‘The dissolution of the monasteries strengthened the influence of the gentry and nobility and the shire became famous for its landed estates.’
    • ‘These traps were laid to snare the bare feet of any poor poacher who dared to trespass and steal the landed gentry's game of fish.’
    • ‘A number of these historians have remarked on the extent to which the very fluidity of the gentry's social composition promoted its obsession with form.’
    • ‘Dukes, duchesses, and barons made up the nobility, while the gentry consisted of knights and lords.’
    • ‘The survival of the old elites extended to the gentry and petty nobility.’
    • ‘The fair days of the early years were occasions when only the gentry were in a position to buy and sell.’
    • ‘He was for the common people and against the corrupt and corrupting power of the gentry, nobility and royalty.’
    • ‘The landed gentry lost almost all of their power and status in the industrial revolution.’
    • ‘Even America has its aristocracy, the landed gentry that haunt communities like the Hamptons.’
    • ‘The area became very popular with the landed gentry and a number of substantial houses were built, including Foots Cray Place, Sidcup Place and Lamorbey.’
    • ‘There was no striking surge of bourgeois capital into land, no great expropriation of the landed aristocracy or gentry.’
    • ‘Hundreds of thousands of people who would never consider themselves rich find they may be at risk from a tax they once associated with the landed gentry.’
    • ‘For years, the landed gentry have striven to keep secret the payments they received from Europe.’
    • ‘There are even cellars, stables and a coach house, a hint to its previous life as a home for landed gentry, before the property was surrounded by a modern housing estate.’
    • ‘Staying here, it's easy to imagine that you have joined a private house party with the landed gentry.’
    the upper classes, the upper middle class, the privileged classes, the wealthy, the elite, high society, the establishment, the haut monde, the county set, the smart set
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1US with adjective People of a specified class or group.
      ‘a New Orleans family of Creole gentry’
      • ‘New Orleans was a critical site in the slave trade, and Louisiana slaveholders epitomized much of the southern gentry.’
      • ‘The car looks cool, and the Cross Country model appeals to the exurban gentry, but that's about it.’
      • ‘The retailers served the urban gentry directly and were well placed to see such a marketing opportunity.’
      • ‘Although well disassociated from the taint of trade, my family was country gentry.’
      • ‘According to the book Southampton's resurgence was sparked, not by ships, imports and exports, but by Georgian gentry and their love of spas and bathing.’
      • ‘They were mostly shop-owners, catering to the tastes of the Creole gentry.’
      • ‘Born to a poor family of Burgundian gentry, he served as a cadet under Condé during the Fronde and was promptly captured.’
      • ‘TVG is one of the best things going for the racing gentry these days.’
      • ‘It stands as a reminder that the Irish Catholic gentry had stood for civility in history in ways beyond the reach of English squires.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘superiority of birth or rank’): from Anglo-Norman French genterie, based on gentil (see gentle).