The gentry refers to a social class of landowners.
In Chinese history, the gentry has a specific meaning and refers to the shen-shi or the class of landowners that had passed the bureaucratic examinations in the Ming and Qing dynasties.
In European history gentry refers to well-to-do or wealthy English landowners below the level of nobility. They played an important role in the English Civil War of the seventeenth century.
See also Landed gentry