Hypertext Webster Gateway: "sir"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Sir \Sir\, n. [OE. sire, F. sire, contr. from the nominative L.
senior an elder, elderly person, compar. of senex,senis, an
aged person; akin to Gr. ??? old, Skr. sana, Goth. sineigs
old, sinista eldest, Ir. & Gael. sean old, W. hen. Cf.
{Seignior}, {Senate}, {Seneschal}, {Senior}, {Senor},
{Signor}, {Sire}, {Sirrah}.]
1. A man of social authority and dignity; a lord; a master; a
gentleman; -- in this sense usually spelled sire. [Obs.]

He was crowned lord and sire. --Gower.

In the election of a sir so rare. --Shak.

2. A title prefixed to the Christian name of a knight or a

Sir Horace Vere, his brother, was the principal in
the active part. --Bacon.

3. An English rendering of the LAtin Dominus, the academical
title of a bachelor of arts; -- formerly colloquially, and
sometimes contemptuously, applied to the clergy. --Nares.

Instead of a faithful and painful teacher, they hire
a Sir John, which hath better skill in playing at
tables, or in keeping of a garden, than in God's
word. --Latimer.

4. A respectful title, used in addressing a man, without
being prefixed to his name; -- used especially in speaking
to elders or superiors; sometimes, also, used in the way
of emphatic formality. ``What's that to you, sir?''

Note: Anciently, this title, was often used when a person was
addressed as a man holding a certain office, or
following a certain business. ``Sir man of law.'' ``Sir
parish priest.'' --Chaucer.

{Sir reverance}. See under {Reverence}, n.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: term of address for a man
2: (British) a title used before the name of knight or baronet
[syn: {Sir}]

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