“Gentleman” is a polite way to refer to a man. However, if you are not a man, you might find it more beneficial to see what better words are appropriate. This article will explore some female and gender-neutral equivalents to help you out.
What Is The Female Equivalent Of “Gentleman”?
There are plenty of different words we can use here. Why not check out one of the following to see how they work:
The preferred version is “lady.” It is the opposite of “gentleman,” which is made clear with the phrase “ladies and gentlemen.” We use it to refer to women that we hold in high regard, so it’s a good choice if you want to swap the gender of “gentleman.”
“Lady” is a great way to replace “gentleman” in many cases. However, you need to make sure you’re not using it as an offensive slur because it has a few negative connotations around it.
If you know the “lady’s” name, it’s always best to refer to it directly. However, if you’re referring to a group of women, using “ladies” is perfectly acceptable.
The definition of “lady,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a polite or old-fashioned way of referring to or talking to a woman.”
- The lady didn’t want to listen to anything I had to say.
- What did you say to that lady? She looks like she’s about to cry.
- I’m sorry, lady. I can’t help you with that!
“Gentlewoman” is a direct replacement for “gentleman.” It hasn’t always been an official word, but now it comes with its own definition to relate to high-social-class women.
If you’re referring to a group of upper-class women, it might be a good idea to use “gentlewomen.” It’s still very inclusive, and allows us to have a suitable alternative to the more standard “gentleman.”
The definition of “gentlewoman,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a woman who belongs to a high social class, or who is kind, polite, and honest.”
- Hello, gentlewomen! Thank you for coming to this assembly, as there is much to discuss.
- The gentlewoman over there said she needed a few items. Can you help her?
- I’m not much of a gentlewoman. However, I try to be as high-class as I can at any given moment.
“Woman” is a great word we can use in many situations. If we’re not speaking to a female directly but we’re referring to her when talking to someone else, we might want to use “woman” to make our description easier.
However, if we are speaking directly to a woman, “woman” might not be the best title to use. It sounds impersonal and can make it sound like you don’t care much about the rest of her character.
The definition of “woman,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “an adult female human being.”
- That woman over there needs help with her packaging.
- Can you please answer that woman for me? I can’t take another complaint.
- Hello, women! I hope you’re ready for an action-packed day of work again!
“Girl” works well to replace “gentleman” when talking to a lady. However, it’s much more informal, and it’s generally related to age. You typically only call young ladies “girls,” so you should make sure to remember this.
If you’re speaking to an older woman, she might take offense if you call her a “girl.” It’s wise to only use this term when you are certain that you’re talking to teenagers.
The definition of “girl,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a female child or young woman, especially one still at school.”
- That girl over there wanted to say hi, but I didn’t have time to stop.
- You should talk to that girl! I’m sure she’d be happy to see you.
- Hello, girls! How are you today?
“Madam” works well when we want to be formal and polite. It’s a good way to refer to a woman because there aren’t as many negative connotations behind this word as some of the other choices on the list.
However, just like any female-specific title, you still need to watch who you say it to. Not all women will be happy to be called a “madam” because they think it sounds too formal or alienating.
The definition of “madam,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a formal and polite way of speaking to a woman.”
- Hello, madam. Did you sleep well? If not, I can always recommend you some remedies for next time.
- Good day, madam. I heard that you had a complaint that you’d like to raise with me.
- The madam over there said that she needed to talk to somebody. Do you have a second to answer her questions?
“Dame” is the last female-specific term we can use. It works to replace “gentleman,” but it’s a fairly dated word in today’s world.
Some women might think you sound a bit misogynistic if you call them a “dame.” You should make sure that you know your audience before risking a word like this.
The definition of “dame,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a woman.”
- Good morning, dames. I hope you are well. Is there anything I can get for you?
- That dame over there said that she’d like to speak with you about an urgent matter, sir.
- I thought I heard you talking to that dame. Did she say anything that would be worthwhile to the cause?
“Gentleperson” isn’t an officially recognized word. However, it’s a great replacement for both “gentleman” and “lady.” It’s a gender-neutral term, which is why it’s becoming more popular as time goes on.
Of course, you don’t have to refer to one person as a “gentleperson.” Sometimes, this might seem a bit impersonal, and you would be better off using their name or a different characteristic to describe them.
However, if you are going to use it to address a group, change the form to “gentlepeople.” It’s fine to pluralize it in this way, and it helps to be much more inclusive.
- Good morning, gentlepeople! I hope you’ve all had a grand weekend because it’s time to see how much work we can get done.
- Welcome, gentlepeople! I’m so glad you all chose to stay with us this week, and we’ll be more than happy to answer your questions.
- Gentlepeople, please, simmer down! I’ll get to all of your questions in just a second.
“Person” is a good gender-neutral choice. However, some people believe that it can be rude, especially if you’re only referring to one person.
If you call a woman a “person” instead of by her name or another title, she might take offense. It takes away from her character, which is why it’s not wise to do this in some cases.
The definition of “person,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a man, woman, or child.”
- This person is on my list, and I need to make sure that she’s going to do alright.
- Hello, people! It’s so pleasant for you all to join me here tonight.
- Please welcome the person next to you! Then we can begin our discussion!
“Friend” is another gender-neutral term. While it works well to show that you are friendly with somebody, there are people who think it lacks personality or character, so it might sound like you’re being overly politically correct.
Calling someone a “friend” that you don’t know works best when you’re referring to a larger group of people. For example, “Hello, friends” is more inclusive than “hello, friend” would be when saying it to one person.
Some people might assume you’ve forgotten their name if you call them “friend,” so you should be careful with it.
The definition of “friend,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a person who you know well and who you like a lot, but who is usually not a member of your family.”
- Hey, friends! How are you? Is there anything I can get that will make this more pleasant for you?
- Good evening, friends! I’m glad you could all make it! Now let’s discuss what we’re really here for.
- She is a friend to me, and I think you should respect her whenever you talk about her.
“Folk” is the last gender-neutral term we want to share with you. It works well to show that you’re being friendly and polite, though it’s best used informally rather than formally.
It’s good because a lot of people appreciate being a “folk.” It’s a polite word with no negative connotations behind it, so you’ll find that a lot of people will smile at the word.
The definition of “folk,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “people, especially those of a particular group or type.”
- They’re good folks, which is why I think you should trust them about this.
- Welcome, folks! I hope you enjoy your stay with us and rate us highly once you leave.
- Hello, folks! How are you today? Is there anything I can get for you that’ll make your stay here more pleasant?
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Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.