gentry


noun

  1. wellborn and well-bred people.
  2. (in England) the class below the nobility.
  3. an upper or ruling class; aristocracy.
  4. those who are not members of the nobility but are entitled to a coat of arms, especially those owning large tracts of land.
  5. (used with a plural verb) people, especially considered as a specific group, class, or kind: The polo crowd doesn’t go there, but these hockey gentry do.
  6. the state or condition of being a gentleman.

noun

  1. persons of high birth or social standing; aristocracy
  2. British persons just below the nobility in social rank
  3. informal, often derogatory people, esp of a particular group or kind
n.

c.1300, “nobility of rank or birth,” from Old French genterise, variant of gentilise “noble birth, gentleness,” from gentil (see gentle). Meaning “noble persons” is from 1520s. Earlier in both senses was gentrice (c.1200 as “nobility of character,” late 14c. as “noble persons”). In Anglo-Irish, gentry was a name for “the fairies” (1880), and gentle could mean “enchanted” (1823).

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