I'm reading the book "the TRUE confessions of Charlotte Doyle" by the author Avi.
The main character, Charlotte, was called a "fine lady", what exactly did this mean? I'm guessing a well educated lady? What are some characteristics of a fine lady?
Please note Avi is an American author.

  • 2
    I think the best way to answer this question would be to read the rest of the book. As others have said in their answers, fine is a very general word. Though it's usually regarded as a compliment (unless you happen to be a numismatist), it could refer to looks, tastes, character, or all three, so only Avi would be able to furnish the details.
    – J.R.
    Jan 6, 2015 at 11:18

2 Answers 2


It can mean anything, depending on the context. But broadly, when applied to a person, it means good in character or ability. The FreeDictionary has an entry for that

fine - Excellent in character or ability

The example follows are: a fine person; a fine writer.

It can also mean beautiful and attractive! (The same page)

good-looking; handsome

The example follows: a fine young woman.


Could you provide more context?

I've seen this term mean two different things in literature:

  • A woman who is a good person, sophisticated and charming, almost always rich and upper class, and preferably beautiful. Anna Karenina could have been described as a fine lady.
  • A woman who is rich and lives luxuriously, i.e. a woman who has much "finery." This usage does not imply any particular goodness about her character; it only emphasizes her wealth and expensive tastes.

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