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n. pl. la·dies
1. A woman of high social standing or refinement, especially when viewed as dignified or well-mannered.
2. A woman who is the head of a household: Is the lady of the house at home?
a. A woman, especially when spoken of or to in a polite way: Ladies, may I show you to your table?
b. Used as a form of address for a woman, often with sarcasm or irritation: Look, lady, I was ahead of you in line.
a. A woman who is the object of romantic or chivalrous love: a knight serving his lady.
b. Informal A wife or girlfriend: a man kissing his lady at the airport.
5. A lady in waiting: the queen and her ladies.
6. Lady Chiefly British
a. A general feminine title of nobility and other rank, specifically as the title for the wife or widow of a knight or baronet.
b. Used as a form of address for a woman of high rank, especially for a marchioness, countess, viscountess, baroness, or baronetess.
7. Lady The Virgin Mary. Usually used with Our.

[Middle English, mistress of a household, from Old English hlǣfdige; see dheigh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: The word lady goes back to Old English and was traditionally used for a woman of social standing or rank. Perhaps because of the word's association with high society, today lady is most acceptable in parallel with gentleman, as in the sentences Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please! and At the opera for the first time, they were dazzled by all of the ladies in ball gowns and gentlemen in sharp tuxedos. This latter sentence was approved by 91 percent of the Usage Panel in our 2016 survey. By contrast, the sentence Nancy Brown will be the first lady to serve as chair of the committee was accepted by only 29 percent of the Panel, with many panelists commenting that the use of lady where woman would easily do can be taken as offensive. The degree to which lady is or isn't considered offensive has become dependent on context. When presented with a range of sentences using lady in formal and informal contexts with both male and female speakers, many members of the Panel stated that they found lady to be acceptable and inoffensive when used ironically or jocularly. · The use of lady as an attributive to modify another noun, as in the phrase lady doctor, is widely considered offensive. When the sex of the person is relevant, the preferred modifier is woman or female. See Usage Note at female.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -dies
1. a woman regarded as having the characteristics of a good family and high social position
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. (Historical Terms) history a woman with proprietary rights and authority, as over a manor. Compare lord3
[Old English hlǣfdīge, from hlāf bread + dīge kneader, related to dāh dough]


n, pl -dies
1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (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. (Ecclesiastical Terms) 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.
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈleɪ di)

n., pl. -dies,
adj. n.
1. a woman who is refined, polite, and well-spoken.
2. a woman of high social position or economic class.
3. any woman; female (sometimes used in combination): the lady who answered the phone; a saleslady.
4. (used in direct address: often offensive in the singular): Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. Lady, you're in my way.
5. wife: The ambassador and his lady arrived late.
6. Slang. a female lover or steady companion.
7. (cap.) (in Great Britain) the proper title of any woman whose husband is higher in rank than baronet or knight, or who is the daughter of a nobleman not lower than an earl, often given by courtesy to the wife of a baronet or knight.
8. a woman who has proprietary rights or authority, as over a manor; female feudal superior. Compare lord (def. 4).
10. a woman who is the object of chivalrous devotion.
11. (usu. cap.) an attribute or abstraction personified as a woman: Lady Fortune; Lady Virtue.
12. Sometimes Offensive. female: a lady reporter.
[before 900; Middle English ladi(e), earlier lavedi, Old English hlǣfdīge, hlǣfdige, perhaps orig. meaning “loaf-kneader” <hlāf loaf1]
usage: In the meanings “refined, polite woman” and “woman of high social position” the noun lady is the parallel of gentleman. As forms of address, both nouns are used in the plural (Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your cooperation), but only lady occurs in the singular. Except in chivalrous, literary, humorous or similar contexts (Lady, spurn me not), this singular is now usu. perceived as rude or at least insensitive: Where do you want the new air conditioner, lady? Other uses that are commonly disliked include lady in compounds or phrases referring to occupation or position (cleaning lady; forelady; saleslady) and as a modifier (lady artist; lady doctor). Increasingly, sex-neutral terms replace lady (cleaner; supervisor; salesperson or salesclerk). When it is relevant to specify the sex of the performer or practitioner, woman rather than lady is used, the parallel term being man, or male and female are used as modifiers: I need a saleswoman;Male doctors outnumber female doctors on the hospital staff by three to one. See also -person, -woman.
syn: See woman.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • buck party, stag party - A buck party, like a stag party, is one without ladies.
  • chatelaine - The lady or mistress of a household.
  • lady - From Old English hlaf, "loaf," and a Germanic base meaning "knead," it first literally meant "one who kneads bread."
  • madam - French, literally, "my lady."
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. used as a noun

You usually refer to an adult female person as a woman /'wʊmən/.

His mother was a tall, dark-haired woman.

The plural of woman is women /'wɪmɪn/.

There were men and women working in the fields.

You can use lady as a polite way of referring to a woman, especially if the woman is present.

We had a visit from an American lady.
There is a lady here who wants to speak to you.

Be Careful!
It is almost always better to refer to someone as an old lady or an elderly lady, rather than an 'old woman'.

I helped an old lady to carry her shopping.
She is an elderly lady living on her own.

If you are addressing a group of women, you call them ladies, not 'women'.

Ladies, could I have your attention, please?
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
2. 'woman' and 'women' used as modifiers

Woman is sometimes used in front of other nouns.

She said that she would prefer to see a woman doctor.

You use women in front of plural nouns, not 'woman'.

Women drivers can get cheaper car insurance.

Be Careful!
Normally, you just refer to a female doctor, writer etc as a doctor or a writer. Only use woman doctor, woman writer etc if it is necessary to make it clear that you are referring to a woman.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.lady - a polite name for any womanlady - a polite name for any woman; "a nice lady at the library helped me"
begum - a Muslim woman of high rank in India or Pakistan
adult female, woman - an adult female person (as opposed to a man); "the woman kept house while the man hunted"
2.lady - a woman of refinementlady - a woman of refinement; "a chauffeur opened the door of the limousine for the grand lady"
grande dame - a middle-aged or elderly woman who is stylish and highly respected
madame - title used for a married Frenchwoman
adult female, woman - an adult female person (as opposed to a man); "the woman kept house while the man hunted"
3.lady - a woman of the peerage in BritainLady - a woman of the peerage in Britain  
baronage, peerage - the peers of a kingdom considered as a group
Britain, Great Britain, U.K., UK, United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - a monarchy in northwestern Europe occupying most of the British Isles; divided into England and Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland; `Great Britain' is often used loosely to refer to the United Kingdom
baroness - a noblewoman who holds the rank of baron or who is the wife or widow of a baron
countess - female equivalent of a count or earl
duchess - the wife of a duke or a woman holding ducal title in her own right
female aristocrat - a woman who is an aristocrat
lady-in-waiting - a lady appointed to attend to a queen or princess
marquise, marchioness - a noblewoman ranking below a duchess and above a countess
Milady - an English noblewoman
noble, nobleman, Lord - a titled peer of the realm
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. gentlewoman, duchess, noble, dame, baroness, countess, aristocrat, viscountess, noblewoman, peeress Our governess was told to make sure we knew how to talk like English ladies.
2. woman, female, girl, miss, maiden (archaic), maid (archaic), lass, damsel, lassie (informal) She's a very sweet old lady.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
سَيِّدَةٌسيِّدَه رفيعَة الشَّأن والسُّلوكسَيِّدَه، إمْرأهلَقَب شَرَف في إنْجِلترا
dama, háttvís konadama, konalafîi
quý bà


A. N
1. (= woman) → señora f, dama f (frm)
ladies' clothingropa f de señora
ladies' hairdresserpeluquero/a m/f de señoras
ladies firstlas damas or las señoras primero
ladies and gentlemen!¡señoras y señores!, ¡damas y caballeros!
"ladies only"sólo para Señoras
cleaning ladymujer f or señora f de la limpieza
First LadyPrimera Dama f
the lady of the housela señora de la casa
leading lady (Theat) → primera actriz f (Cine) → protagonista f
I'm not used to being a lady of leisureno estoy acostumbrada a la vida ociosa
he's a ladies' manes un donjuán
an old ladyuna señora mayor
a little old ladyuna viejecita
this is the young lady who served meésta es la señorita or la joven que me sirvió
now listen here, young lady!¡escúchame, jovencita!
2. (= educated woman, noblewoman) → dama f
she's no ladyno es lo que se dice una dama
she's a real ladyes toda una dama
society ladydama f de la alta sociedad
3. (in titles) Lady Jane GreyLady Jane Grey
she liked to play Lady Bountifulle gustaba hacerse la rumbosa
she thinks she's Lady Muck!¡se cree toda una duquesa!
4. (US) (as form of address) → señora f
what seems to be the trouble, lady?¿qué ocurre, señora?
5. (o.f.) (= wife) → señora f, esposa f
your good ladysu esposa, su señora
my lady wifemi señora esposa
6. (Rel) Our LadyNuestra Señora
7. the ladies (= lavatory) → el servicio (de señoras), el baño (de señoras) (LAm)
"Ladies"Señoras, Damas
B. CPD ladies' room Nservicio m de señoras, baño m de señoras (LAm)
Lady Chapel N (Rel) → capilla f de la Virgen
Lady Day N (Brit) → día m de la Anunciación (25 de marzo)
lady doctor Ndoctora f, médico f
lady friend Namiga f
lady mayoress Nalcaldesa f
lady's fingers NPL (Bot) (with sing or pl vb) → quingombó m
lady's maid Ndoncella f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


(= woman) → dame f young lady
(= refined woman) → dame f
a real lady → une vraie dame
(= term of address) → Madame
Your table is ready, ladies → Votre table est prête, Mesdames.
Ladies and gentlemen ... → Mesdames et Messieurs ...
(= title) Lady Smith → lady Smith Our Lady
lady doctor (old-fashioned)doctoresse f (old-fashioned)
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Dame f; “Ladies” (= lavatory)„Damen“; where is the ladies or the ladies’ room?wo ist die Damentoilette?; ladies and gentlemen!sehr geehrte Damen und Herren!, meine Damen und Herren!; ladies, …meine Damen, …; lady of the houseDame fdes Hauses; the minister and his ladyder Minister und seine Gattin; your good lady (hum, form)Ihre Frau Gemahlin (hum, form); the old lady (inf: = mother) → die alte Dame (inf); (= wife)meine/deine/seine Alte (inf)or Olle (N Ger inf); a little old ladyeine alte Dame; young ladyjunge Dame; (scoldingly) → mein Fräulein; his young ladyseine Freundin; she’s no ladysie ist keine Dame; ladies’ bicycleDamen(fahr)rad nt
(= noble)Adlige f; Lady (as a title) → Lady f; dinner is served, my ladyes ist angerichtet, Mylady or gnädige Frau; to live like a ladywie eine große Dame leben
Our Ladydie Jungfrau Maria, Unsere Liebe Frau; Church of Our Lady(Lieb)frauenkirche f


ladybird, (US) ladybug
nMarienkäfer m
Lady Chapel
nMarienkapelle f
Lady Day
n (Brit) → Mariä Verkündigung no art
lady doctor
nÄrztin f
n (US) → Löffelbiskuit nt
lady friend
nDame f
nEhrendame f, → Hofdame f
n (inf)Herzensbrecher m
adjdamenhaft, vornehm; it’s not ladyes ist nicht ladylike, es gehört sich nicht für eine Dame
n (old)Geliebte f, → Feinsliebchen nt (old)
lady mayoress
n Titel der Frau des Lord Mayor, → Frau f(Ober)bürgermeister (dated)
n Her/Your LadyshipIhre Ladyschaft; certainly, Your Ladyshipgewiss, Euer Gnaden
lady’s maid
n(Kammer)zofe f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈleɪdɪ] n
the lady of the house → la padrona di casa
young lady (married) → signora (unmarried) → signorina
ladies' hairdresser → parrucchiere m per signora
Ladies and Gentlemen! → signore e signori!
b. Our Lady (Rel) → la Madonna
c. Lady Jane Greylady Jane Grey
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈleidi) noun
1. a more polite form of woman. Tell that child to stand up and let that lady sit down; The lady in the flower shop said that roses are expensive just now; Ladies' shoes are upstairs in this shop; (also adjective) a lady doctor.
2. a woman of good manners and refined behaviour. Be quiet! Ladies do not shout in public.
3. in the United Kingdom, used as the title of, or a name for, a woman of noble rank. Sir James and Lady Brown; lords and ladies.
ˈladylike adjective
like a lady in manners. She is too ladylike to swear.
ˈLadyship noun
(with Her, ~Your etc) a word used in speaking to, or about, a woman with the title `Lady'. Thank you, Your Ladyship; Ask Her Ladyship for permission.
ˈladybird noun
(American ˈladybug) a type of little round beetle, usually red with black spots.

lady's fingers

noun plural
the long sticky green pods of a tropical plant, used as a vegetable.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


سَيِّدَةٌ paní dame Dame κυρία dama aatelisnainen dame dama signora 婦人 숙녀 dame dame dama senhora леди dam สุภาพสตรี leydi quý bà 女士
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


n. dama, señora
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
Collins Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
[SIR JOHN and LADY CAROLINE PONTEFRACT, MISS WORSLEY, on chairs under large yew tree.]
"My Lady Steyne," he said, "I want to see the list for your dinner on Friday; and I want you, if you please, to write a card for Colonel and Mrs.
But it was all very confusing, and not quite pleasant, so that Pollyanna was glad, indeed, when at last she found herself outside in the hushed, sweet air--only she was very sorry, too: for she knew it was not going to be easy, or anything but sad, to tell Jimmy Bean to-morrow that the Ladies' Aid had decided that they would rather send all their money to bring up the little India boys than to save out enough to bring up one little boy in their own town, for which they would not get "a bit of credit in the report," according to the tall lady who wore spectacles.
My Lady Dedlock has returned to her house in town for a few days previous to her departure for Paris, where her ladyship intends to stay some weeks, after which her movements are uncertain.
She is nearly as tall as Lady Janet herself, and possesses a grace and beauty of figure not always seen in women who rise above the medium height.
how shall I get spirits to tell you; you are undone, sir, and my poor lady's undone, and I am undone." "Hath anything happened to Sophia?" cries Jones, staring like a madman.
As the servant appeared, introducing Lady Lydiard, the dog ran in.
A very old lady, in a lofty cap and faded silk gown--no less a personage than Mr.
Not long after Colonel Shute had assumed the government of Massachusetts Bay, now nearly a hundred and twenty years ago, a young lady of rank and fortune arrived from England, to claim his protection as her guardian.
Lady Windermere The Duchess of Berwick Lady Agatha Carlisle Lady Plymdale Lady Stutfield Lady Jedburgh Mrs.
"There is a lady at the door, Sir, who wishes to see the house."
Consequently, if we begin with my lady, we are pretty sure of beginning far enough back.