Student Dictionary

8 entries found for lady.
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Main Entry: la·dy
Pronunciation: primarystresslamacrd-emacron
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural ladies
Etymology: Old English hlæfdige, from hlamacrf "loaf of bread" and -dimacrge, a form of a root word meaning "to knead dough" --related to LOAF, LORD --see Word History at LORD
1 : a woman of property, rank, or authority; especially : one having a standing equivalent to that of a lord -- used as a title
2 capitalized : VIRGIN MARY -- usually used with Our
3 : a woman of high social position
4 : WOMAN 1
5 : WIFE 2
Word History The word lady is nowadays generally used as a polite term for a woman. In the past, however, lady was used primarily for "a woman of a high social class." The Old English ancestor of lady was hlæfdige, which came from two other words. One was hlamacrf, meaning "loaf of bread." The other was -dimacrge, a form of a root word meaning "to knead dough." But the word hlæfdige was not used in Old English for an actual bread maker. It was used instead to refer to the woman in charge of maids and of a household. Only very rich and powerful women, members of the nobility, had maids and large households, so a lady was owed much respect. The title lady is still used in Great Britain for a woman who is a member of the nobility.

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