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.]


A man of social authority and dignity; a lord; a master; a gentleman; -- in this sense usually spelled sire.


He was crowned lord and sire. Gower.

In the election of a sir so rare. Shak.


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.


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


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.


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?"


⇒ 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."


Sir reverance. See under Reverence, n.


© Webster 1913.

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