You and I are men of the world. Where does this leave the fair sex?

I'm looking for a noun or noun-phrase that captures the essence of "Man of the world", but which can be equally applied to men and women.

I suppose I'm looking for a noun for a person who has enough savoir-vivre to be equally comfortable as a baseball game, an operatic performance, a beau monde cocktail party, and a strip club. A little help, please?

Alternatively, I could accept a gender-specific equivalent that applies to women.

"She's been around the block" has all kinds of ... uh ... irrelevant ... connotations. As does "woman of the world."

The kind of woman I have in mind knows her Verdi and Giordano; favors Hals over Rembrandt and has a weakness for John Singer Sargent; can fix her own plumbing if need be; can appreciate an expensive bottle of champagne and can drink, sing loudly off-key, and dance with the best of them at a truck stop. She's hardly a stranger to an evening gown but doesn't mind wearing mountain boots. She has read, and can casually quote from, Marcus Aurelius, but she can hold her own in a conversation about last season's Stanley Cup champions. She's hardly a bleeding heart, but isn't sanctimonious either: when a hobo sitting on the sidewalk pushes his plastic cup towards her, she won't pretend that he doesn't exist; nor will she lecture him on the benefits of getting and keeping a job: she'll deposit a five-dollar bill in his cup and continue on her way. Above all, she's not easily embarrassed. Yes, she will step into the alley to pee when she can't hold it anymore and has no other options, and she WON'T make a big deal of it.

A word or a phrase, please.

  • 1
    So you want a gender-neutral term for "man of the world"? Maybe "worldly wise"? (Though that term is not a dead-on match for "man of the world".)
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 21, 2015 at 3:00
  • 2
    It is unclear what you are looking for. A word that covers both men and women? Or a noun for 'worldly' that also is non-gendered?
    – Mitch
    Nov 21, 2015 at 3:10
  • 3
    People of the world?
    – Kevin
    Nov 21, 2015 at 3:42
  • 2
    It's not very clear, but I take it that you want to substitute the noun "men" with something that is gender neutral, which in that case could be: compatriots; citizens, adults, comrades, people, men and women,... etc. But the idiom is ....*"we/you and I are men of the world"*... meaning "experienced", "worldly", if you change the noun, the idiom becomes less recognizable, and the speaker, especially if male, risks sounding like someone who has an issue with feminists or with political correctness. Not cool.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 21, 2015 at 5:24
  • 3
    Reading your expanded description, I suspect you simply want some term to describe this fictitious idealized woman you're imagining.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 21, 2015 at 8:56

2 Answers 2


It is not a perfect match, but cosmopolitan, in the sense of definitions #1 and #5 (depending on whether adjective or noun) in the link, is close to fitting your meaning:

adj: free from local, provincial, or national ideas, prejudices, or attachments; at home all over the world.

noun: a person who is free from local, provincial, or national bias or attachment; citizen of the world; cosmopolite.

For an example:

Alice has traveled in and studied many cultures, her cosmopolitan nature has let her be comfortable conversing with all kinds of people.



noun: a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning.

I'm a big fan of the word, and it's gender-neutral to boot.

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