Where does the word “lady” come from and What does lady mean in Old English?

It is a far cry from the woman of Old England from whom this title descended to the one who often calls herself a lady today.

That remote woman was proud to be known as the breadinaker, hkefdige, a word subjected to many changes, becoming levedi in the thirteenth century, levdi and ladi in the fourteenth, and ladie and lady in the sixteenth.

By present standards of usage lady is a term of courtesy applied to any woman, but no longer necessarily implies an ability to make bread.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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