From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary


Origin: oe. Ladi, laefdi, as. Hlfdige, hlfdie; as. Hlaf loaf _ a root of uncertain origin, possibly akin to E. Dairy. See Loaf, and cf. Lord.

1. A woman who looks after the domestic affairs of a family; a mistress; the female head of a household. Agar, the handmaiden of Sara, whence comest thou, and whither goest thou? The which answered, Fro the face of Sara my lady. (Wyclif (gen. Xvi. 8))

2. A woman having proprietary rights or authority; mistress; a feminine correlative of lord. Lord or lady of high degree. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this, . . . We make thee lady. (Shak)

3. A woman to whom the particular homage of a knight was paid; a woman to whom one is devoted or bound; a sweetheart. The soldier here his wasted store supplies, And takes new valor from his lady's eyes. (Waller)

4. A woman of social distinction or position. In England, a title prefixed to the name of any woman whose husband is not of lower rank than a baron, or whose father was a nobleman not lower than an earl. The wife of a baronet or knight has the title of lady by courtesy, but not by right.

5. A woman of refined or gentle manners; a well-bred woman; the feminine correlative of gentleman.

6. A wife; not now in approved usage.

7. (Science: zoology) The triturating apparatus in the stomach of a lobster; so called from a fancied resemblance to a seated female figure. It consists of calcareous plates. Ladies man, a man who affects the society of ladies. Lady altar, an altar in a lady chapel. Lady chapel, a chapel dedicated to the virgin Mary. Lady court, the court of a lady of the manor. Lady court, the court of a lady of the manor.

(Science: zoology) lady crab, a handsomely spotted swimming crab (Platyonichus ocellatus) very common on the sandy shores of the atlantic coast of the united states. Lady fern.

(Science: botany) see female fern, under female, and Illust. Of fern. Lady in waiting, a lady of the queens household, appointed to wait upon or attend the queen. Lady mass, a mass said in honor of the virgin Mary. Lady of the manor, a lady having jurisdiction of a manor; also, the wife of a manor lord. Lady's maid, a maidservant who dresses and waits upon a lady. Our lady, the virgin Mary.