Difference Between Ladies and Women

Ladies vs Women
 

If someone says there is a difference between ladies and women, some of you may be a little surprised. This is because of the fact that they are often looked upon as words that convey the same meanings and connotations. As a result, Ladies and Women are two words that are often confused when it comes to their meanings and connotations. Strictly speaking, they are different in some sense. The word ladies originally referred to aristocratic women. On the other hand, the word women refers to the opposite of men. This is the main difference between the two words. Ladies can also be a polite and formal way of referring to a woman.

Semantics is the branch of comparative philology that deals with the changes in the meanings that took place in the course of time during the development of a language. Some of the English words underwent changes in their meanings in the course of time. Ladies and Women are such words that underwent changes in their meanings in the course of time.

What does Ladies mean?

Semantic changes are of three types, namely generalization, specialization, and transference. The word ladies belongs to the type called generalization. According to generalization, words that originally had narrowed meanings got widened in the course of time. Hence, the word ladies that originally had a narrowed meaning of ‘aristocratic women’ got widened in its meaning as ‘women in general’.

Difference Between Ladies and Women

A Lady – an aristocratic woman

This change is called generalization since the meaning became generalized in the course of time. In the present times, it is interesting to note that both the words, namely, ladies and women are used as interchangeable words. In fact, the usage has begun to be accepted too. The word ladies often refers to the educated and sophisticated or cultured women. Lady is the singular form of ladies. Look at the following examples.

Lady Catherine flared here nostrils.

I spoke with the lady in the reception office.

Look now, lady, I don’t have time for this.

In the first sentence, lady is used as of in the past as well as now in the present, to refer to an aristocratic or a woman from a high social order. In the second sentence, lady is used as polite and formal way of referring to a woman. The third sentence, according to the Oxford dictionary uses the word lady ‘as an informal, often brusque, form of address to a woman.’ Remember, this use is chiefly North American.

What does Women mean?

On the other hand, the word women earlier referred to the ‘uneducated girls’. Slowly the meaning underwent change. Philologists often consider that the change is also due to the transference of meaning. Woman is the singular form of women. It means the female of a man. Woman is used in many ways. Some of them are, according to the Oxford dictionary, to refer to an adult human female, a peremptory form of address to a woman, a man’s wife, girlfriend or lover. Look at the following examples.

There were ten women in that group. (an adult human female)

Don’t be such a scatterbrain, woman! (a peremptory form of address to a woman)

She wondered if that fair, tall one was his woman. (a man’s wife, girlfriend or lover)

What is the difference between Ladies and Women?

• In the present times, ladies and women are used as interchangeable words, and that is an accepted practice too.

• However, the word ladies originally referred to aristocratic women and, on the other hand, the word women earlier referred to the ‘uneducated girls’.

• The word women, in fact, refers to the opposite of men.

• Ladies can also be a polite and formal way of referring to a woman.

• The word ladies often refers to the educated and sophisticated or cultured women.

• Woman is used in many ways. Some of them are, according to the Oxford dictionary, to refer to an adult human female, a peremptory form of address to a woman, a man’s wife, girlfriend or lover.

• In a chiefly North American way, lady is used as an informal, often brusque, form of address to a woman.

These are the differences between the two words, namely, ladies and women.