Mysteries of vernacular: Lady - Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel
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In phonology, syncope (Greek: syn- + koptein “to strike, cut off”) is the loss of one or more sounds from the interior of a word, especially the loss of an unstressed vowel. Various sorts of colloquial reductions might be called "syncope". It is also called compression.
The word lady is a civil term of respect for a woman, specifically the female equivalent to gentleman or lord, and in many contexts a term for any adult woman. Once confined to usage when specifically addressing women of high social class or status; over the last 300 years, the term has spread to embrace every adult woman.
This graph visually shows the origin of the word lady:
This graph shows the usage of the word lady from 1800 to 2010:
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