Hochgeboren is a form of address for the titled members of the German and Austrian nobility, ranking just below the sovereign and mediatised dynasties. It can be translated into High-born or of High Birth. The latin version of this term is "illustrissimus".
The actual address is "Euer" Hochgeboren. It is the proper form of address for counts (Grafen) that are neither heirs to mediatised families of the Holy Roman Empire (counts of the Holy Roman Empire or Reichsgrafen) nor families who have been bequeathed higher predicate by the Emperor. By courtesy, barons (Freiherr) belonging to old houses of the Uradel are also addressed in the same way.
The correct term for immediate counts (Reichsgrafen) is Erlaucht ("Illustrious Highness"), while the proper form of address for princes (Fürsten) and dukes (Herzöge) is Durchlaucht ("Serene Highness").
Lower form of address
The title should not be confused with (Euer) Hochwohlgeboren, which ranks lower, and is the correct form of address for German barons (Freiherren) and knights (Ritter); or (Euer) Wohlgeboren, which ranks lower than Hochwohlgeboren, and is the address for a Vogt or Büttel.
- "Enthält: Ansichten des Landes, topographische Fragmente, Volk ..., Volume 1".
- addressed strictly according to their social status from Euer Hochgeboren (literally 'high-born') for scions of high aristocracy, down to Euer Wohlgeboren (well-born) for mere bourgeois J. Jahoda, A History of Social Psychology: From the Eighteenth-Century Enlightenment to the Second World War, Cambridge Press, 2007
- A German count must be addressed as 'High-born' (Hochgeboren), or even, under some circumstances (imperial immediacy), as Erlaucht; a Baron as 'High-well-born' (Hochwohlgeboren) ; and that the common herd exact Wohlgeboren J.H Agnew Eclectic magazin: foreign literature (vol.22), Leavitt, Throw & Co, 1875
- whilst other Grafen (those who are not immediate or were permitted higher predicate) or those Fürsten just alluded to, have the predicate Hochgeboren (high born) Wolfgang MENZEL, History of German literature, DA Talboys (Oxford), 1840
- Scarcely inferior in dignity to the Austro-Hungarian princes or Fürst are the members of those Comital Houses or Grafen the chiefs of which, by a decision of the Austrian Emperor, have right to the title of "Most Illustrious Count " (Erlaucht). Constantin von Wurzbach, Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich, Smolfer Theil, Wien, 1864
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