(g soft). A translation of the French gentilhomme, one who belongs to the gens or stock. According to the Roman law, gens-men, or gentlemen, were those only who had a family name, were born of free parents, had no slave in their ancestral line, and had never been degraded to a lower rank.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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