• Lord


    • UK IPA: /lɔːd/
    • US IPA: /lɔɹd/
    • Homophones: lored
    • Rhymes: -ɔː(r)d


    From Middle English lord and lorde (attested from the 15th century), from earlier (14th century) lourde and other variants which dropped the intervocalic vowel of earlier lowerd, louerd, loverd, and laford; from Old English hlāford and hlāfweard, a compound of hlāf ("bread, loaf") + weard ("ward, guardian, keeper"); see loaf and ward. The compound is absent in other Germanic languages but related to the Old English hláf-ǽta ("servant, bread-eater"); it was already being applied broadly prior to the literary development of Old English and was influenced by its common use to translate Latin dominus. Compare Scots laird ("lord"), preserving a separate vowel development, and modern English lady, from Old English hlǣfdīġe ("bread-kneader").

    Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed. "lord, n.". Oxford University Press (Oxford), 1903.

    Full definition of lord



    (plural lords)
    1. (obsolete) The master of the servants of a household; (historical) the master of a feudal manor
      1. (obsolete) The male head of a household, a father or husband.
      2. (obsolete) The owner of a house, piece of land, or other possession
        • ante 1300, Cursor Mundi, 601 f.Als oure lauerd has heuen in handSua suld man be lauerd of land.
        • 1480, Waterford Archives in the 10th Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts (1885), App. v. 316All suche lordes as have gutters betuxte thar houses.
        • ante 1637, Ben Jonson, Sad Shepherd, ii. i. 36A mightie Lord of Swine!
        • 1697, John Dryden translating Publius Virgilius Maro's Æneis, xiiTurnus...Wrench'd from his feeble hold the shining Sword;And plung'd it in the Bosom of its Lord.
        • 1874, J. H. Collins, Principles of Metal Mining (1875), Gloss. 139/2Lord, the owner of the land in which a mine is situated is called the ‘lord’.
    2. One possessing similar mastery over others; (historical) any feudal superior generally; any nobleman or aristocrat; any chief, prince, or sovereign ruler
      1. (historical) A feudal tenant holding his manor directly of the king
      2. A peer of the realm, particularly a temporal one
      3. (obsolete, uncommon) A baron or lesser nobleman, as opposed to greater ones
        • 1526, W. Bonde, Pylgrimage of Perfection, i. sig. BviiivFarre excellyng the state of lordes, erles, dukes or kynges.
        • 1826, Benjamin Disraeli, Vivian Grey, II. iii. iii. 26The Marquess played off the two Lords and the Baronet against his former friend.
    3. One possessing similar mastery in figurative senses (esp. as lord of ~)
      • ante 1300, Cursor Mundi, 782O wityng bath god and ill Ȝee suld be lauerds at ȝour will.
      • 1398, John Trevisa translating Bartholomew de Glanville's De Proprietatibus Rerum (1495), viii. xvi. 322The sonne is the lorde of planetes.1697, John Dryden translating Publius Virgilius Maro as Georgics, iiiLove is Lord of all.
      • 1992 November 18, Larry David, Seinfeld, 4.11: "The Contest":But are you still master of your domain?I am king of the county. You?Lord of the manor.
      1. The magnates of a trade or profession
        • 1823, W. Cobbett, Rural Rides (1885), I. 399Oh, Oh! The cotton Lords are tearing!
    4. (astrology) The heavenly body considered to possess a dominant influence over an event, time, &c.
    5. (British, slang, obsolete) A hunchback.
      • 1699, B.E., A new dictionary of the terms ancient and modern of the canting crew:Lord, a very crooked, deformed... Person.
    6. (British, Australian, via Cockney rhyming slang, obsolete) Sixpence.
      • 1933 November 16, Times Literary Supplement, 782/1:Twenty years ago you might hear a sixpence described as a ‘Lord’ meaning ‘Lord of the Manor’; that is, a tanner.



    1. (intransitive and transitive) Domineer or act like a lord.
    2. (transitive) To invest with the dignity, power, and privileges of a lord.

    Derived terms

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