Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun People of gentle birth, good breeding, or high social position.
  • noun An upper or ruling class.
  • noun The class of English landowners ranking just below the nobility.
  • noun People of a particular class or group.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Noble birth or lineage; gentility.
  • noun Family; gens.
  • noun Gentle breeding or manners; courtesy; civility.
  • noun A gentle or noble quality or action; a gentlemanly characteristic.
  • noun The class of well-born and well-bred people; people of good position; in England, the class of people of means or leisure below the rank of the nobility, sometimes called the upper middle class.
  • noun Persons of a particular class: usually applied in ironical civility to persons of an inferior sort.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete Birth; condition; rank by birth.
  • noun People of education and good breeding; in England, in a restricted sense, those between the nobility and the yeomanry.
  • noun obsolete Courtesy; civility; complaisance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Birth; condition; rank by birth.
  • noun Courtesy; civility; complaisance.
  • noun People of education and good breeding.
  • noun UK In a restricted sense, those people between the nobility and the yeomanry.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the most powerful members of a society

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English gentri, nobility of birth, from Old French genterie, variant of genterise, gentilise, from gentil, noble; see gentle.]

Examples

  • (pray bear that in mind, gentle reader), gentry by birth, and incontestably so by my father's bearing the commission of good old George the Third, we were not _fine gentry_, but people who could put up with as much as any genteel Scotch family who find it convenient to live on a third floor in London, or on a sixth at Edinburgh or Glasgow.

    Lavengro The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest, Vol. 1 (of 2)

  • (pray bear that in mind, gentle reader), gentry by birth, and incontestably so by my father's bearing the commission of good old George the Third, we were _not fine gentry_, but people who could put up with as much as any genteel Scotch family who find it convenient to live on a third floor in London, or on a sixth at Edinburgh or Glasgow.

    Lavengro the Scholar - the Gypsy - the Priest

  • (pray bear that in mind, gentle reader), gentry by birth, and incontestably so by my father's bearing the commission of good old George the Third, we were not _fine gentry_, but people who could put up with as much as any genteel Scotch family who find it convenient to live on a third floor in London, or on a sixth at Edinburgh or Glasgow.

    Lavengro; the Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest

  • (pray bear that in mind, gentle reader), gentry by birth, and incontestably so by my father's bearing the commission of good old George the Third, we were not _fine gentry_, but people who could put up with as much as any genteel Scotch family who find it convenient to live on a third floor in London, or on a sixth at Edinburgh or Glasgow.

    Lavengro The Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest

  • These well-to-do, often politically connected professionals—including the increasingly intertwined wealthy of Wall Street, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley—espoused what might be called gentry liberalism, a creed according to which the middle classes had to be punished for their racism, sexism, and excess consumption.

    Who Lost the Middle Class?

  • The new California landed gentry is indeed a reality.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » California’s Woes and Prop 13

  • The hard favour'd authority that the workers have presumably seen in the faces of the landed gentry is absent here.

    '[S]hak[ing] the dwellings of the great': Liberation in Joanna Baillie’s Poems (1790)

  • And there were occasional cracks in gentry solidarity — especially when opportunity for preferment presented itself.

    Gutenber-e Help Page

  • Polish writers use the word gentry, which doesn't sound quite right in English.

    Poland

  • Congress, the relatives of his wife, the titled gentry of Europe were treated with marked and lavish attention.

    The Loyalist A Story of the American Revolution

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.