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

  • noun A woman of high social standing or refinement, especially when viewed as dignified or well-mannered.
  • noun A woman who is the head of a household.
  • noun A woman, especially when spoken of or to in a polite way.
  • noun Used as a form of address for a woman, often with sarcasm or irritation.
  • noun A woman who is the object of romantic or chivalrous love.
  • noun Informal A wife or girlfriend.
  • noun A lady in waiting.
  • noun A general feminine title of nobility and other rank, specifically as the title for the wife or widow of a knight or baronet.
  • noun Used as a form of address for a woman of high rank, especially for a marchioness, countess, viscountess, baroness, or baronetess.
  • noun The Virgin Mary. Usually used with Our.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A woman who has authority over a manor or family; the mistress of a household: the feminine correlative to lord.
  • noun Specifically, 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, though the title is given by courtesy also to the wives of baronets and knights; also, the feminine title correlative originally to Lord, and now also to Sir.
  • noun In the days of chivalry, the woman chosen by a knight or squire as the object of his especial service, his feats of arms being done in her honor, and his success ascribed to her influence.
  • noun A woman of good family and of established social position, or one accepted as such: a restricted sense correlative to gentleman in like use.
  • noun A woman of good breeding, education, and refinement of mind and manner: a general sense correlative to gentleman in like use: in common speech used indiscriminately as a synonym for woman (a use generally vulgar, and to be avoided except in address). See gentleman, 4.
  • noun A wife; a man's spouse: used in this sense always with direct reference to the husband: as, John Smith and lady.
  • noun A sweetheart.
  • noun A slate measuring about 16 inches long by 10 broad.
  • noun The calcareous apparatus in the cardiac part of the stomach of the lobster, the function of which is the trituration of the food.
  • Of a lady; ladylike.
  • noun In astrology, a term designating the planet Venus when in the circumstances under which, if a masculine planet, she would be termed lord: as, lady of the ascendant.

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

  • noun A woman who looks after the domestic affairs of a family; a mistress; the female head of a household.
  • noun A woman having proprietary rights or authority; mistress; -- a feminine correlative of lord.
  • noun A woman to whom the particular homage of a knight was paid; a woman to whom one is devoted or bound; a sweetheart.
  • noun A woman of social distinction or position. In England, a title prefixed to the name of any woman whose husband is not of lower rank than a baron, or whose father was a nobleman not lower than an earl. The wife of a baronet or knight has the title of Lady by courtesy, but not by right.
  • noun A woman of refined or gentle manners; a well-bred woman; -- the feminine correlative of gentleman.
  • noun A wife; -- not now in approved usage.
  • noun Any woman; ; also used in combination.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The triturating apparatus in the stomach of a lobster; -- so called from a fancied resemblance to a seated female figure. It consists of calcareous plates.
  • noun a man who affects the society of ladies.
  • noun an altar in a lady chapel.
  • noun a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
  • noun the court of a lady of the manor.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a handsomely spotted swimming crab (Platyonichus ocellatus) very common on the sandy shores of the Atlantic coast of the United States.
  • noun (Bot.) See Female fern, under Female, and Illust. of Fern.
  • noun a lady of the queen's household, appointed to wait upon or attend the queen.
  • noun a Mass said in honor of the Virgin Mary.
  • noun a lady having jurisdiction of a manor; also, the wife of a manor lord.
  • noun a maidservant who dresses and waits upon a lady.
  • noun the Virgin Mary.
  • adjective Belonging or becoming to a lady; ladylike.

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

  • noun historical The mistress of a household.
  • noun A woman of breeding or higher class, a woman of authority.
  • noun The feminine of lord.
  • noun A title for someone married to a lord.
  • noun A title for somebody married to a gentleman.
  • noun A title that can be used instead of the formal terms of marchioness, countess, viscountess or baroness.


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

[Middle English, mistress of a household, from Old English hlǣfdige; see dheigh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English lady, laddy, lafdi, lavedi, from Old English hlǣfdīġe ("mistress of a household, wife of a lord, lady", literally "bread-kneader"), from hlāf ("bread") + dīġe ("maid"), related to Old English dǣġe ("maker of dough"). Compare also lord. More at loaf, dairy, dough.



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

  • maker of the dough

    February 11, 2007

  • October 20, 2007