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[jen-tl-muh n] /ˈdʒɛn tl mən/
noun, plural gentlemen.
a man of good family, breeding, or social position.
(used as a polite term) a man:
Do you know that gentleman over there?
gentlemen, (used as a form of address):
Gentlemen, please come this way.
a civilized, educated, sensitive, or well-mannered man:
He behaved like a true gentleman.
a male personal servant, especially of a man of social position; valet.
a male attendant upon a king, queen, or other royal person, who is himself of high birth or rank.
a man of good social standing, as a noble or an armigerous commoner.
a man with an independent income who does not work for a living.
a male member of the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives:
The chair recognizes the gentleman from Massachusetts.
History/Historical. a man who is above the rank of yeoman.
Origin of gentleman
1225-75; Middle English; see gentle, man1
Related forms
gentlemanlike, adjective
undergentleman, noun, plural undergentlemen.
ungentlemanlike, adjective
4. See man1 .
Usage note
See lady. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gentlemanlike
Historical Examples
  • He—the calm, gentlemanlike, Captain Rothesay—burst into a storm of passion that would have disgraced a boor.

    Olive Dinah Maria Craik, (AKA Dinah Maria Mulock)
  • Is he not a devilish good-looking, gentlemanlike sort of fellow?

    Rookwood William Harrison Ainsworth
  • His appearance was engaging, his manners gentle if not gentlemanlike, and he had a temper never disturbed.

    Endymion Benjamin Disraeli
  • "You haven't told me why you like this gentlemanlike boor," he persisted.

    Peak and Prairie Anna Fuller
  • A laugh frigidly jeering; a look lazily mutinous; gentlemanlike irony, patrician resentment.

    The Professor (AKA Charlotte Bronte) Currer Bell
  • He was not only a very good-looking, but a gentlemanlike boy in his manners.

    The Poacher Frederick Marryat
  • Commonly they are, or appear to be, young, and all have a gentlemanlike appearance.

  • There he is at Broadstone, as gentlemanlike a youth as I would wish to see.

    The Heir of Redclyffe Charlotte M. Yonge
  • By the way, I hear an excellent character of your officers for regularity and gentlemanlike manners.

  • I disposed of them in as gentlemanlike a manner as possible.

    The Golden Butterfly Walter Besant
British Dictionary definitions for gentlemanlike


noun (pl) -men
a man regarded as having qualities of refinement associated with a good family
a man who is cultured, courteous, and well-educated
a polite name for a man
the personal servant of a gentleman (esp in the phrase gentleman's gentleman)
(Brit, history) a man of gentle birth, who was entitled to bear arms, ranking above a yeoman in social position
(formerly) a smuggler
Derived Forms
gentlemanly, adjective
gentlemanliness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gentlemanlike



"well-born man," early 13c., from gentle + man.

The Gentleman is always truthful and sincere; will not agree for the sake of complaisance or out of weakness ; will not pass over that of which he disapproves. He has a clear soul, and a fearless, straightforward tongue. On the other hand he is not blunt and rude. His truth is courteous; his courtesy, truthful; never a humbug, yet, where he truthfully can, he prefers to say pleasant things. [J.R. Vernon, "Contemporary Review," 1869]
Related: Gentlemen. Gentleman's agreement is first attested 1929. Gentleman farmer recorded from 1749.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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