Definition of gentleman noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    gentleman

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//ˈdʒentlmən//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈdʒentlmən//
     
    (pl. gentlemen
    BrE BrE//ˈdʒentlmən//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈdʒentlmən//
     
    )
     
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  1. 1  [countable] a man who is polite and well educated, who has excellent manners and always behaves well Thank you—you're a real gentleman. He's no gentleman! compare lady
  2. 2  [countable, usually plural] (formal) used to address or refer to a man, especially somebody you do not know Ladies and gentlemen! Can I have your attention, please? Gentlemen of the jury! Can I help you, gentlemen? There's a gentleman to see you. In more informal speech, you could say:Can I help you?There's someone to see you.
  3. 3(North American English) used to address or refer to a male member of a legislature, for example the House of Representatives
  4. 4(old-fashioned) a man from a high social class, especially one who does not need to work a country gentleman a gentleman farmer (= one who owns a farm for pleasure, not as his main job) Culturegentlemen's clubsThe gentlemen's club is a British institution. Gentlemen's clubs are comfortable, private places with bars, a restaurant, a library and sometimes bedrooms. They attract as members businessmen, politicians and others from the upper class and the Establishment. Members use their club as a place to meet friends or take business contacts. Most are situated in London's West End and many have large impressive buildings.Membership is expensive and at most clubs is restricted to men, though the Reform Club has had women members since the 1960s. Generally, women and other non-members are not allowed inside clubs except as guests of a member, and women are allowed only in certain rooms. Members must obey rules about dress and behaviour. People wanting to be members may have to wait a long time before they are admitted to the most popular clubs, and will only be allowed to join if an existing member seconds (= supports) them. Any member may object to membership being offered to a particular person by blackballing (= voting against) him.Gentlemen's clubs developed in the mid 18th century. Men had previously met socially and to discuss business in coffee houses where coffee, tea and chocolate, all new drinks in Britain at the time, were available. White's, the oldest London club, developed from a chocolate house. Some coffee houses, like the later clubs, were linked with particular professions. For instance, Lloyd's coffee house was associated with shipping and later became Lloyd's of London. In the 18th century clubs were mainly used for drinking and gambling but later attracted members who shared more serious interests. People interested in science and literature joined the Athenaeum, politicians went to the Reform Club, the Carlton Club or Brooks's, and theatre people joined the Garrick.Today, the gentlemen's club suggests to many people an old-fashioned world based on class, where snobbery and prejudice still survive. There is now less interest among younger business people in joining this type of club and several have had to close.In the US there are not many institutions like the gentlemen's club. Private universities like Harvard have alumni associations for people who have studied there, and being a member of such clubs is associated with wealth and social status. The club building of the Harvard Club has in many ways the atmosphere of an English gentlemen's club.
  5. Word Origin Middle English (in the sense ‘man of noble birth’): from gentle + man, translating Old French gentilz hom. In later use the term denoted ‘a man of a good family (especially one entitled to a coat of arms) but not of the nobility’.Extra examples He may be famous, but he’s no gentleman. He retired to his estate and lived the life of a country gentleman. He was too much of a gentleman to ask them for any money. He’s a real gentleman, always kind and considerate. Ladies and gentlemen! Can I have your attention, please? There’s a gentleman here to see you.Idioms
    a gentleman/lady of leisure
     
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    (humorous) a man/woman who does not have to work
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: gentleman