Birth; condition; rank by birth.
People of education and good breeding; in England, in a restricted sense, those between the nobility and the yeomanry.
1) in the U.K., a traditionally aristocratic armigerous social class ranking below the peerage. 2) outside the U.K., the untitled armigerous nobility.
Gentry is a term meaning one thing in the UK: landed gentry. In Europe and the United States, gentry has a wide meaning, ranging from those of noble background to those of good family (i.e. "gentle" birth). Before the Industrial Revolution, the gentry were located between the yeomanry and the Peerage, and were traditionally considered lesser aristocracy if they did not bear arms, or as the lesser nobility if the family was armigerous.
In imperial China, gentry were the class of landowners who were retired mandarins or their descendants. Their power and influence eclipsed that of the Chinese nobility during the Tang dynasty when the civil service exam replaced the nine-rank system which favored nobles.