Meaning of LADY in English


I. ˈlādē, -di noun

( -es )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English lady, lavedi, lafdi, from Old English hlǣfdīge, from hlāf bread + -dīge (from root of a prehistoric verb meaning to knead); akin to Old English dǣge maid, kneader of bread — more at loaf , dairy

1. obsolete : a mistress of servants : a woman who looks after the domestic affairs of a family : female head of a household


a. : a woman having proprietary rights, rule, or authority : a woman to whom obedience or homage is owed as a ruler or feudal superior — usually used chiefly in the phrase lady of the manor ; compare lord 1


(1) : a woman receiving the particular homage of a knight

(2) : a woman who is the object of a lover's devotion : ladylove , mistress , sweetheart


a. : a woman of good family or of a superior social position

inclined to remind you that she was a lady by birth — W.S.Maugham

begins as a narrative with a warm and vigorous picture of the decline of the lady … into the woman — H.S.Canby

the airs of a lady

once a lady could not be a stenographer or a shopgirl — Katharine F. Gerould

— compare gentleman 1b; used also of a woman in a courteous mode of reference

show this lady to a seat

the ladies' singles championship

or usually in the plural of address

that will be all, ladies

ladies and gentlemen

b. : a woman of refinement and gentle manners : a woman whose conduct conforms to a certain standard of propriety or correct behavior : well-bred woman

with a lady's respect for tranquillity she forbore to discuss these troubles — Frances G. Patton

no woman with a bosom could be quite a lady in his eyes — Hugh MacLennan

a lady … quiet, reserved, gracious, continent … gentle, and a woman — W.D.Steele

— compare gentleman 1c

c. : a woman irrespective of social status or personal qualities : female

a lady doctor

a char lady

a two-headed boy and a bearded lady

lady novelists

the iceman, the blackberry lady , and the poor blind man with the brooms — Eudora Welty

noticed the cold eye of the lady behind the bar — Margery Allingham

as fit as a lady sharpshooter — Ethel Merman

4. : wife

the president and his lady

his daughter was now a general's lady — John De Meyer

fashionable doctors and their ladies — Gene Baro

5. — used as a title prefixed to the names of various supernatural beings and personified abstractions

Lady Venus

Lady Luck

— compare dame 1c


a. : any of various titled women in Great Britain — used as a courtesy title for the daughter of a duke, marquess, or earl

Lady Philippa Stewart, daughter of the fourteenth Duke of Norfolk

and for the wife of a younger son of a duke or marquess

Lady Randolph Churchill, wife of a younger son of the Duke of Marlborough

and as a mode of reference for a marchioness, countess, viscountess, or baroness

the Marchioness of Lothian, addressed as Lady Lothian

and for the wife of a baronet or knight

Sir William and Lady Craigie

b. : a female member of certain orders of knighthood or chivalry

Her Majesty is Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter — Burke's Peerage

appointed by Pope Pius as a lady of the grand cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre — Springfield (Massachusetts) Union

— compare dame 1g


a. obsolete : the queen in a set of chess men

b. slang : a queen in a deck of playing cards


[so called from the fancied resemblance to the outline of a seated woman's figure]

: the triturating apparatus in the stomach of a lobster

9. : a gunner's mate in charge of the lady's hole on a man-of-war


a. : a female animal

one was a lady , her swimmerets … covered with black eggs — Robert Hunter

a lady goat

the male trout are handsome, the lady trout pretty and available — Ford Times

b. : a female harlequin duck — compare lord-and-lady

11. ladies plural but singular in construction , chiefly Britain : ladies' room

slipped into the ladies to powder her nose

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-es )

transitive verb

obsolete : to make a lady of or to make ladylike

intransitive verb

: to play the lady — used with it

ladying it over her former friends

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.