Difference Between Ladies and Women

Ladies vs Women

Ladies and Women are two words that are often confused when it comes to their meanings and connotations. This is because of the fact that they are often looked upon as words that convey the same 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.

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.

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’.

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. On the other hand, the word ‘women’ earlier referred to the ‘uneducated girl’. Slowly the meaning underwent change. Philologists often consider that the change is also due to the transference of meaning. These are the differences between the two words, namely, ladies and women.