M’Lady – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Anyone that has surfed the internet within the past ten years has likely seen the meme photo of the guy in the top hat captioned “m’lady”. It took the world by storm after its first few uses of it were seen on various social media sites, and it has remained popular ever since.

But what does “m’lady” actually mean? This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The phrase “m’lady” is typically associated with a (subjectively) unattractive man who has given up trying to win women over with his looks and has turned to manners to get them to like him. These men are often referred to as “beta males” and for whatever reason, tend to be overweight, or have unflattering facial hair (things that typically would not catch a woman’s eye).

This man has turned to presenting himself as an upper-class gentleman to try to win ladies over, but it still usually does not work in his favor. The guy is usually seen tipping his fedora while saying “m’lady”. More information can be found in the video (here).

Example Usage

“I may not be the best looking man here, but I’ll treat you the best. M’lady.”

“I would love to take you out on a date sometime. M’lady.”

“Greetings M’lady, I hope that you have had a pleasant morning so far?”

“Let me get that door for you. M’lady”.

“I would be happy to pay for your lunch today M’lady, it would be a true honor”.


The phrase of “milady” (or, “my lady”), which this originated from, is one that has been around since 1778. In the past, this was used as a way to refer to a noblewoman, or a woman of a higher status than you, as it is the feminine version of “milord”. The first time this phrase was seen as shortened to “m’lady” and used as a meme was in 2012, when it was posted to Reddit for the first time.

Originally, the phrase was used to refer to “white knight” behavior, which relates to the “nice guy” concept. After this first post, the phrase spread to all parts of the Internet, and videos have even been made on YouTube featuring “gentlemanly behavior” that inspired the meme. The phrase is commonly associated with an overweight man with a neckbeard, wearing a black shirt and a black fedora. This association started in 2013, and the man commonly used in the photo is actually Jerry Messing, who was a childhood actor but failed to get more roles in the field as he got older.

Phrases Similar to M’Lady

  • My lady
  • “Nice guy” behavior
  • “White knight”
  • Ma’am

Phrases Opposite to M’Lady

  • Handsome/attractive man
  • “F-boy behavior”

What is the Correct Saying?

  • “M’lady” is the shortened version of “my lady”.

Ways People May Incorrectly Say M’Lady

This phrase is used to refer to men who are deemed unattractive that use highly proper manners and good behavior to get women to like them. Or it is said by the man himself who is trying to pick up a woman. Attempting to use this phrase in any other context would be incorrect. Primarily, a guy who relies on his appearance to attract women and does not have to act nice would not typically use “m’lady”. Some ways that “m’lady” is used incorrectly are:

  • I know I’m attractive, m’lady.
  • This is only going to be a one-night stand, m’lady.
  • I don’t want to date you, but I’m sure you’d be fun to mess around with, m’lady.
  • This isn’t going to be anything more than a fling, m’lady.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase M’Lady

  • Let me take that jacket for you. M’lady.
  • Allow me to open your car door for you. M’lady.
  • Wow, m’lady. Don’t you look lovely tonight?
  • I can see those heels are hurting your feet. Do you want to switch shoes, m’lady?
  • Good morning M’lady, I would be delighted to accompany you to the subway this morning.

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