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, loaf”) + dīġe (“maid”), related to Old English dǣġe (“maker of dough”). Compare also lord. More at loaf, dairy, dough.
lady (plural ladies)
- (historical) The mistress of a household.
- c. 1382, John Wycliffe, transl., Wycliffe's Bible, Genesis 16:7–9:
- And whanne the aungel of the Lord hadde foundun hir biside the welle of water in wildirnes, the which is in the / weye of Sur in desert, he seide to hir, Agar, the hand mayden of Saray, whens comyst thow, and whithir gost thow? / The which answeride, Fro the face of Saray my ladi I flee.
- A woman of breeding or higher class, a woman of authority.
- 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 6, in The China Governess:
- ‘[…] I remember a lady coming to inspect St. Mary's Home where I was brought up and seeing us all in our lovely Elizabethan uniforms we were so proud of, and bursting into tears all over us because “it was wicked to dress us like charity children”. […]’.
- "I would like the dining room to be fully set by tonight; would you do so?" "Yes, my lady".
- The feminine of lord.
- 1848, James Russell Lowell, The Vision of Sir Launfaul, 6th edition, Boston: Ticknor and Fields, published 1858:
- ’T was the proudest hall in the North Countree, / And never its gates might opened be, / Save to lord or lady of high decree […]
- c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene i], page 283, column 2:
- Of all theſe bounds euen from this Line, to this, / With ſhadowie Forreſts, and with Champains rich’d / With plenteous Riuers, and wide-ſkirted Meades / We make thee Lady.
- A title for someone married to a lord.
- A title for somebody married to a gentleman.
- A title that can be used instead of the formal terms of marchioness, countess, viscountess, or baroness.
- (polite or used by children) A woman: an adult female human.
- Please direct this lady to the soft furnishings department.
- (in the plural) A polite reference or form of address to women.
- 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, in The Celebrity:
- The Celebrity, by arts unknown, induced Mrs. Judge Short and two other ladies to call at Mohair on an afternoon when Mr. Cooke was trying a trotter on the track. The three returned wondering and charmed with Mrs. Cooke; they were sure she had had no hand in the furnishing of that atrocious house.
- Ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to be here today. Follow me, ladies!
- (slang) Used to address a female.
- Hey, lady, move your car!
- (ladies' or ladies) Toilets intended for use by women.
- (familiar) A wife or girlfriend; a sweetheart.
- c. 1591–1595, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Romeo and Ivliet”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, (please specify the act number in uppercase Roman numerals):, [Act II, scene ii]
- It is my Lady, O it is my Loue, O that ſhe knew ſhe were, / She ſpeaks, yet ſhe ſays nothing, what of that?
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Goldsmith to this entry?)
- A woman to whom the particular homage of a knight was paid; a woman to whom one is devoted or bound.
- (slang) A queen (the playing card).
- (attributive, with a professional title) Who is a woman.
- A lady doctor.
- (Wicca) Alternative form of .
- The triturating apparatus in the stomach of a lobster, consisting of calcareous plates; so called from a fancied resemblance to a seated female figure.
- (Britain, slang) A five-pound note. (Rhyming slang, Lady Godiva for fiver.)
- (slang) A woman’s breast.
- bag lady
- dragon lady
- the First Lady
- gray lady
- ladies and gentlemen
- ladies' fingers
- lady's bedstraw
- lady's eardrop
- lady's laces
- lady's maid
- lady's man
- lady's mantle
- lady's slipper
- lady's thistle
- lady's thumb
- lady abbess
- lady beetle
- lady bird/lady-bird/ladybird
- Lady Bountifel
- lady bug/lady-bug/ladybug
- Lady Campbell
- lady chapel
- lady crab
- Lady Day
- lady fern/lady-fern
- lady's finger
- lady friend
- Lady Godiva
- lady killer, lady-killer, ladykiller
- Lady Macbeth strategy
- Lady McLeod
- lady of leisure
- lady of pleasure
- lady of the house
- lady of the night
- lady or tiger
- lady smock
- lady who lunches
- leading lady
- lollipop lady
- lunch lady/lunch-lady/lunchlady
- naked lady
- no way to treat a lady
- old lady
- one fat lady
- Our Lady
- painted lady
- Pink Lady/pink lady
- Tupperware lady
- two fat ladies
- white lady
- young lady
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
lady f (plural ladys)
- lady (wife of a lord; important woman)
- “lady” in le Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).
lady f (invariable)
- lady (wife of a lord; important woman)