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Any individual who conducts himself in a courteous and dignified manner is referred to be a gentleman. Gentleman was once the lowest level of the English landed gentry, ranking below an esquire and above a yeoman; by definition, gentleman included the younger sons of peers, as well as the younger sons of a baronet, a knight, and an esquire, in permanent succession. As a result, the word gentleman’s meaning conveys the common denominator of gentility (and, in many cases, a coat of arms); a right shared by the peerage and the gentry, the component classes of the British aristocracy.
As a result, gentleman in English correlates to gentilhomme (nobleman) in French, which in Great Britain denoted a member of the English peerage. The gentleman, according to historian Maurice Keen, is “the nearest, contemporaneous English analogue to the noblesse of France.” Gentlemen referred to the hereditary ruling class in the 14th century, which is who the rebels of the Peasants’ Revolt (1381) were referring to when they said:
When Adam dug and Eve stretched,
Who was the gentleman back then?
The word gentleman also speaks of “our English usage of it” as convertible with nobilis (nobility by rank or personal qualities) and depicts the forms of a man’s elevation to the nobility in European monarchs, according to the lawyer John Selden in Titles of Honour (1614). In his book On the Nobility of the British Gentry, or the Political Ranks and Dignities of the British Empire, Compared with those on the Continent, published in the nineteenth century, James Henry Lawrence explained and discussed the concepts, particulars, and functions of social rank in a monarchy (1827).
Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun defined the intrinsic nature of a gentleman in their allegorical poetry The Romance of the Rose (about 1400): “He is gentil bycause he doth as longeth to a gentilman.” This concept evolves until the 18th century, when Richard Steele wrote in Tatler No. 207 in 1710, “the appellation of Gentleman is never to be fastened to a man’s circumstances, but to his Behaviour in them.” As a result, King James II of England’s mythical response to a lady’s petition to raise her son to the position of gentleman: “I could make him a nobleman, but God Almighty could not make him a gentleman.”
“No Charter, which is regarded as coming from the lips of some great Princes has stated it,” Selden argued, “can constitute a Gentleman,” since “they, without question, interpreted Gentleman for Generosus in the antient meaning, or as if it originated from Genii/ in that sense.” “No creation could produce a man of different blood than he is,” says the term gentilis, referring to a nobleman or gentleman by birth. The term “gentleman” is ambiguously defined in modern use since “to behave like a gentleman” conveys as much praise or criticism as the speaker intends to suggest; therefore, “to spend money like a gentleman” is criticism, while “to handle a business like a gentleman” is praise.