Definition of lady in English:

lady

Syllabification: la·dy
Pronunciation: /ˈlādē
 
/

noun (plural ladies)

1A woman (used as a polite or old-fashioned form of reference): I spoke to the lady at the travel agency [as modifier]: a lady doctor
More example sentences
  • I was forwarded an email from a lady called Joy Wolfe referring to the same report.
  • My mind was always too addled to take in any detail or be in the least bit capable of having a polite chat with a lady.
  • There are one or two ladies he refers to with special tenderness, but he remains unmarried.
Synonyms
woman, female
informal dame
derogatory broad
literary maid, damsel
archaic wench
1.1chiefly North American An informal, often brusque, form of address to a woman: I’m sorry, lady, but you have the wrong number
More example sentences
  • She was wrestling or slapping a young man and he was saying, ‘Listen, lady, I'm hurt, too.’
  • I totally lost my professional cool, sputtering, ‘Is this the way to try to get an interview with me, lady!’
  • I mean I know gas prices are high and you probably have taken out a second mortgage just to keep that thing running, but as they say - karma's a bitch, lady.
2A woman of superior social position, especially one of noble birth: lords and ladies and royalty were once entertained at the house
More example sentences
  • Joan Valentine, who once worked as a ladies ' maid, describes the distinctions of rank within this society to Ashe Marson in Something Fresh.
  • The setting is a small market town where Miss Matty Jenkyns and her friends are ladies of a certain position in society.
  • And, in a manner most inappropriate of a lady in her position, she reached for his hands and moved herself closer.
Synonyms
noblewoman, duchess, countess, peeress, viscountess, baroness
archaic gentlewoman
2.1A courteous, decorous, or genteel woman: his wife was a real lady, with such nice manners
More example sentences
  • Joan Scanlan was a real lady, a mild gentle person and a woman of principle who was never afraid to articulate her views.
  • She's the most wonderful, intelligent person and a real lady, which is hard to find in showbusiness.
  • A perfect lady she was a real friend to everybody.
2.2 (Lady) (In the UK) a title used by peeresses, female relatives of peers, the wives and widows of knights, etc. Lady Caroline Lamb
More example sentences
  • She was a Lady who was the wife of a Lord, not a Lady in her own right, of her own fief.
  • Her children, Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto, were at her side.
  • Miss Gazdowick will play Lady McDuff in Macbeth and Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew, while Mr Smith will play Duncan in Macbeth.
3 (one's lady) dated A man’s wife: welcoming the vice president and his lady
More example sentences
  • Just think: you'll share a common interest with your lady.
  • Secondly, you could always send your lady to school to learn English, so that you both have some other way of communicating other than by Braille.
  • It was John Abraham, however, who turned out to be the surprise package of the movie, a fact that even Bipasha who is his lady both in reel and real life today, acknowledges.
3.1 (also lady friend) A woman with whom a man is romantically or sexually involved: the young man bought a rose for his lady
More example sentences
  • Another fun story was a guy who decided to take his lady friend on a unique first date.
  • The problem I had with glitter was when Mia, a young lady friend of mine, sent me a CD in the post (we used to do swaps - David Bowie mainly, but also compilations of our favourite stuff).
  • But my lady friend requires a glass of your finest mead!
3.2 historical A woman to whom a man, especially a knight, is chivalrously devoted.
4 (the ladies) British A women’s public restroom.
More example sentences
  • The toilets were pretty flash, check out the basins in the ladies!
  • Not always easy to accomplish, cramped in the ladies, but there are some easy ways to get glam in minutes.
  • They were all staring at him wondering what was a man doing in the ladies.

Origin

Old English hlǣfdīge (denoting a woman to whom homage or obedience is due, such as the wife of a lord or the mistress of a household, also specifically the Virgin Mary), from hlāf 'loaf' + a Germanic base meaning 'knead', related to dough; compare with lord. In Lady Day and other compounds where it signifies possession, it represents the Old English genitive hlǣfdīgan '(Our) Lady's'.

Phrases

it isn't over till the fat lady sings

Used to convey that there is still time for a situation to change.
[by association with the final aria in tragic opera]

ladies who lunch

informal or often derogatory Women with both the means and the free time to meet each other socially for lunch in expensive restaurants.
More example sentences
  • We went into Frasers for tea, at the time the store's restaurant was quite posh and packed with those ladies who lunch - ie, women who don't work for a living but shop every day and drink coffee with their friends.
  • Looking younger by any means necessary is on everyone's agenda, from Knightsbridge ladies who lunch to Essex college girls skiving off classes to get a spray tan.
  • Employing a designer, meanwhile, is often perceived as an expensive luxury indulged in by ladies who lunch and those intent on keeping up with the Joneses.

Lady Bountiful

A woman who engages in ostentatious acts of charity, more to impress others than out of a sense of concern for those in need.
[ early 19th century: from the name of a character in Farquhar's The Beaux' Stratagem (1707)]
More example sentences
  • Pip really will be missed, as she has been a Lady Bountiful on behalf of Orange for so many good arts causes.

Lady Luck

Chance personified as a controlling power in human affairs: it seemed Lady Luck was still smiling on them
More example sentences
  • My affair with Lady Luck ended when she started two-timing me with the blackjack dealer.
  • After such a slice of good fortune it looked like Lady Luck was smiling on City, particularly after both Brooks and Powell squandered gilt-edged chances from inside the six-yard box, one after the other.
  • Fortunately, Lady Luck smiled upon me and I located a sample tube of self-cleaning wax lubricant in my toolbox.

Lady Muck

British informal A haughty or pretentious woman (often as a mocking form of address).
More example sentences
  • Other topics have been picked over as well, such as Live 8; and it seems Lady Muck over in Waltham Forest might be considering Making Geldof History.
  • Well we have a question for Lady Muck, also known as Viscountess Gormanston.
  • Kate Snell does not come on like Lady Muck but she is engaged in the same vulgar trade.

lady of the house

A woman at the head of a household: he always asked the lady of the house the shade of paint she would like
More example sentences
  • They were all immensely surprised when Gweneth Cassella, the lady of the household, came through the front door, her own briefcase at her side.
  • The ladies of the households prepare a special table on which to place food that is to be offered to the monks and deities.
  • I put on my boots - the courtyard seems to be an extension of the manure pile - and wait for the lady of the house to rein in the enormous Saint-Bernard barking at me.

My Lady

A polite form of address to certain noblewomen.
More example sentences
  • ‘I'm so sorry, my lady,’ a servant girl said breathlessly, diving in front of her and scooping up the hen easily in her arms.

Derivatives

ladyhood

Pronunciation: /-ˌho͝od/
noun
More example sentences
  • Our story is about two young girls who, because of the death of their parents, find themselves brought to Christina Rosetti's house to be schooled in the ways of ladyhood, which is something Rosetti herself was very interested in.
  • Mrs. Isenblatt goes to Jaky in the hope that clothing can hide her hips, an aspect of her metaphorical identity or natural, physical self, so she can attain the American ideal of physical beauty and ladyhood: thinness.
  • Enstad argues that young, predominantly Jewish and Italian women workers in New York's garment industry challenged middle-class efforts to stigmatize them as inferior by redefining ladyhood.

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