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 baronet.

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?"

Sheridan.

⇒ 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.

 

© Webster 1913.