Avoj friends I have a question - When the host say "Ladies and gentlemen" why they don't put gentle before Ladies? I think ladies are more gentle than men. Why not it be "men and gentle-ladies"? Thank you

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    They often are. "Gentlemen" is just referring to men who are not somehow crude, while women are generally assumed to be not crude unless noted otherwise.
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 2, 2021 at 16:58
  • There are gentlewomen. Sep 2, 2021 at 16:58
  • Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/390406/…
    – user430882
    Sep 2, 2021 at 17:18
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    Unless I've been led astray, the "gentle" refers to "landed gentry" more than a meek demeanor.
    – user888379
    Sep 2, 2021 at 17:18
  • You’ve accounted for the shift from “man” to “gentleman” but not the shift from “woman” to “lady”.
    – Lawrence
    Sep 3, 2021 at 5:35

1 Answer 1


Gentle in this context doesn't mean 'kind and tender', it means 'of superior social status (but not an aristocrat)'. The historical usage of lady and gentleman is complicated, but basically in the past both terms referred to people of a certain social rank, but are now just a polite way of referring to any woman and man.

  • Yes, they were "gentlefolk" as opposed to "common people". The fact that gentlefolk could be, and often were, violent, vindictive and cruel didn't stop them having the status of gentlefolk. In fact a lot of them achieved that status through violence and cruelty.
    – BoldBen
    Sep 3, 2021 at 5:19

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