|—n , pl -dies|
|1.||a woman regarded as having the characteristics of a good family and high social position|
|2.||a. a polite name for a woman|
|b. (as modifier): a lady doctor|
|3.||an informal name for wife|
|4.||lady of the house the female head of the household|
|5.||history Compare lord a woman with proprietary rights and authority, as over a manor|
|[Old English hlǣfdīge, from hlāf bread + dīge kneader, related to dāh dough]|
|—n , pl -dies|
|1.||(in Britain) a title of honour borne by various classes of women of the peerage|
|2.||my lady a term of address to holders of the title Lady, used esp by servants|
|3.||Our Lady a title of the Virgin Mary|
|4.||archaic an allegorical prefix for the personifications of certain qualities: Lady Luck|
|5.||chiefly (Brit) the term of address by which certain positions of respect are prefaced when held by women: Lady Chairman|
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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