a gentleman and a scholar

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a gentleman and a scholar

cliché Someone (usually a male, due to the gender implication of "gentleman") who is admirable or of high esteem. Although used sincerely as a compliment, it is generally bombastic and lighthearted in nature. Thank you for helping me move into the new house, you are truly a gentleman and a scholar.
See also: and, gentleman, scholar
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

gentleman and a scholar, a

Well behaved and well educated. This term dates from the days when only well-born boys and men (or those who entered a religious order) received any education at all. Its earliest appearance in print was in George Peele’s Merrie Conceited Jests of 1607 (“He goes directly to the Mayor, tels him he was a Scholler and a Gentleman”). It probably was close to being a cliché by the time Robert Burns used it jokingly in his The Twa Dogs (1786): “His locked, letter’d braw brass collar shew’d him the gentleman an’ scholar.”
See also: and, gentleman
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

a gentleman and a scholar

A complimentary term for a person, especially one who has done you a favor. Back in the era when courteous behavior and academic achievement were prized far more highly than they are today, acknowledging a kindness, such as holding the door or relinquishing a place on line so that someone else could get a taxi, would be met with a smile, a nod, and the phrase, “You are a scholar and a gentleman.”
See also: and, gentleman, scholar
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
A life well-lived, a gentleman and a scholar, a man loved and respected by colleagues, friends, and family.
Although the term gentleman and scholar seems to be out of fashion today, perhaps because it can be used honestly for so few persons, Ken Haycock truly is a gentleman and a scholar. For more than three decades Ken has been a leader of and advocate for the library profession, in general, and the school library profession, in particular.
Indeed, until Jonathan Rauch came along, Reich's memoir was being reviewed with every presumption of truth afforded the writings of a gentleman and a scholar.