Lord

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Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power over others acting like a master, a chief, or a ruler.[1][2] The appellation can also denote certain persons who hold a title of the peerage in the United Kingdom, or are entitled to courtesy titles. The collective "Lords" can refer to a group or body of peers.

Etymology[edit]

According to the Oxford Dictionary of English, the etymology of the word can be traced back to the Old English word hlāford which originated from hlāfweard meaning "loaf-ward" or "bread keeper", reflecting the Germanic tribal custom of a chieftain providing food for his followers.[3] The appellation "lord" is primarily applied to men, while for women the appellation "lady" is used.[citation needed] However, this is no longer universal: the Lord of Mann, a title currently held by the Queen of the United Kingdom, and female Lord Mayors are examples of women who are styled Lord.[citation needed]

Historical usage[edit]

Feudalism[edit]

Under the feudal system, "lord" had a wide, loose and varied meaning. An overlord was a person from whom a landholding or a manor was held by a mesne lord or vassal under various forms of feudal land tenure. The modern term "landlord" is a vestigial survival of this function. A liege lord was a person to whom a vassal owed sworn allegiance. Neither of these terms were titular dignities, but rather factual appellations, which described the relationship between two or more persons within the highly stratified feudal social system. For example, a man might be Lord of the Manor to his own tenants but also a vassal of his own overlord, who in turn was a vassal of the King. Where a knight was a lord of the manor, he was referred to in contemporary documents as "John (Surname), knight, lord of (manor name)". A feudal baron was a true titular dignity, with the right to attend Parliament, but a feudal baron, Lord of the Manor of many manors, was a vassal of the King.

Lord of the manor[edit]

The substantive title of "Lord of the Manor" came into use in the English medieval system of feudalism after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The title "Lord of the Manor" was a titular feudal dignity which derived its force from the existence and operation of a manorial court or court baron at which he or his steward presided. To the tenants of a manor their lord was a man who commanded on occasion the power of exercising capital punishment over them. The term invariably used in contemporary mediaeval documents is simply "lord of X", X being the name of the manor. The term "Lord of the Manor" is a recent usage of historians to distinguish such lords from feudal barons and other powerful persons referred to in ancient documents variously as "Sire" (mediaeval French), "Dominus" (Latin), "Lord" etc. The title of "Lord of the Manor" is recognised by the British Government, in the form of the Her Majesty's Land Registry, as one of three elements of a manor that can affect[clarification needed] Land Registry.[4] Modern legal cases have been won by persons claiming rights as lords of the manor over village greens. The heads of many ancient English land-owning families have continued to be lords of the manor of lands they have inherited.

The UK Identity and Passport Service will include such titles on a British passport as an "observation" (e.g., 'The Holder is the Lord of the Manor of X'), provided the holder can provide documentary evidence of ownership,[5] as will Passport Canada. The United States [6] however, forbids the use of all titles on passports. Australia forbids the use of titles on passports if those titles have not been awarded by the Crown (in reference to the Australian Monarchy) or the Commonwealth (in reference to the Australian Government).[7]

Laird[edit]

The Scottish title Laird is a shortened form of 'laverd' which is an old Scottish word deriving from an Anglo-Saxon term meaning 'Lord' and is also derived from the middle English word 'Lard' also meaning 'Lord'. The word is generally used to refer to any owner of a landed estate and has no meaning in heraldic terms and its use is not controlled by the Lord Lyon.

Modern usage[edit]

Marquess of Argyll

Peerage[edit]

Lord is used as a generic term to denote members of the peerage. Five ranks of peer exist in the United Kingdom: in descending order these are duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron. The appellation "Lord" is used most often by barons, who are rarely addressed by their formal and legal title of "Baron". The correct style is 'The Lord (X)': for example, Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, is commonly known as "The Lord Tennyson". Marquesses, earls and viscounts are commonly also addressed as Lord. Dukes use the style "The Duke of (X)", and are not correctly referred to as 'Lord (X)'. Dukes are formally addressed as 'Your Grace', rather than 'My Lord'. In the Peerage of Scotland, the members of the lowest level of the peerage have the substantive title 'Lord of Parliament' rather than Baron.

"Lord" is also used as a courtesy title for some or all of the children of senior members of the peerage: for example the younger sons of dukes and marquesses are entitled to use the style "Lord (first name) (surname)". As these titles are merely courtesy titles, the holder is not by virtue of the title a member of the peerage and is not entitled to use the definite article 'The' as part of the title.

House of Lords[edit]

The upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom is the House of Lords, which is an abbreviation of the full title, The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament Assembled. The Lords Temporal are the people who are entitled to receive writs of summons to attend the House of Lords in right of a peerage. The Lords Spiritual are the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Bishops of London, Winchester and Durham, and the twenty-one longest-serving bishops of the Church of England from among the other bishops, who are all entitled to receive writs of summons in right of their bishoprics or archbishoprics.

The Lords Temporal greatly outnumber the Lords Spiritual, there being nearly 800 of the former and only 26 of the latter. As of December 2016, 92 Lords Temporal sit in the House in right of hereditary peerages and 19 sit in right of judicial life peerages under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876. The rest are life peers under the Life Peerages Act 1958.

Judiciary[edit]

Until the creation of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (early 21st century), certain judges sat in the House of Lords by virtue of holding life peerages. They were known collectively as the Law Lords. Those Law Lords who had held the office of Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom lost the right to sit and vote in the House of Lords, despite retaining their life peerages, upon creation of the Supreme Court. The appellation "Lord" is also used to refer to some judges in certain Commonwealth legal systems, who are not peers. Some such judges, for instance judges of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, are called "Lord Justice". Other Commonwealth judges, for example judges of Canadian provincial supreme courts, are known only as Justices but are addressed with deference in court as 'My Lord', 'My Lady', 'Your Lordship' or 'Your Ladyship'.

Examples of judges who use the appellation "lord" include:

  • Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom not holding peerages, who are addressed as if they were life peers by Royal Warrant.[8] Wives of male justices who are not peers are addressed as if they were wives of peers. These forms of address are applicable both in court and in social contexts.
  • Judges of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, known as 'Lord Justices of Appeal'.
  • Judges of the Scottish Court of Session, known as 'Lords of Council and Session'.
  • Justices of the Canadian provincial Supreme Courts, addressed in Court as "My Lord" or "My Lady" and referred to in legal literature as "Lordships" or "Ladyships".
  • Judges of the Supreme Court of India and the High Courts of India, who are addressed as "My Lord" in court. The Bar Council of India however calls upon lawyers to give up this practice of addressing judges as 'lords'.

Ecclesiastical[edit]

In Britain, and in most countries that are members or former members of the Commonwealth, bishops may be addressed as "My Lord" or "My Lord Bishop", particularly on formal occasions. This usage is not restricted to those bishops who sit in the House of Lords. Indeed, by custom, it is not restricted to bishops of the Church of England but applies to bishops of the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church, and may be applied (though less commonly) to bishops of other Christian jurisdictions. However, in modern times it has become more common to use simply the one word "Bishop".

In the United States, bishops are addressed as "Excellency".

Other[edit]

Various other high offices of state in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth and Republic of Ireland are prefixed with the deferential appellation of "lord" such as Lord Chancellor, Lord Privy Seal, Lord President of the Council and Lord Mayor. Holders of these offices are not ex officio peers, although the holders of some of the offices were in the past always peers.

Non-English equivalents[edit]

In most cultures in Europe an equivalent appellation denoting deference exists. The French term Mon Seigneur ("My Lord"), shortened to the modern French Monsieur derives directly from the Latin seniorem, meaning "elder, senior".[9] From this Latin source derived directly also the Italian Signore, the Spanish Señor, the Portuguese Senhor.

Non-Romance languages have their own equivalents. Of the Germanic family there is the Dutch Meneer/Mijnheer/De Heer (as in: aan de heer Joren Jansen), German Herr, and Danish Herre. All three of these stem from a Germanic title of respect (in this case, from the Proto-Germanic root *haira, "hoary, venerable, grey", likely a loan translation of Latin seniorem; possibly also related to *harjo, "war band, army" in the sense of a military leader).[10][11] In other European languages there is Welsh Arglwydd, Hungarian Úr, Greek Kyrie, Polish Pan, Czech pán, Breton Aotrou, Albanian Zoti.

In several Indian languages there are have: Hindi Swami, Prabhu, Samprabhu(Overlord) also words like Saheb or Laat Saheb from Lord Saheb were once used but have changed in meaning now, Telugu Prabhuvu, Tamil Koman, Kannada Dore, Bengali Probhu, Gujarati Swami, Punjabi Su'āmī, Nepali Prabhu. Words like Swami and Prabhu are Sanskrit-origin words, common in many Indian languages.

Philippine languages have different words for "lord", some of which are cognates. Tagalog has Panginoón for "lord" in both the noble and the religious senses. Its root, ginoo, is also found in Visayan languages like Cebuano as the term for "lord". Ginoo is also the Tagalog root for Ginoóng, the modern equivalent of the English term "Mister" (akin to how Romance language terms like señor may be glossed as either "lord", "mister", or "sir"). Ilocano meanwhile employs Apo for "Lord" in religious contexts; it is a particle that generally accords respect to an addressee of higher status than the speaker.

Religion[edit]

Lord is used as a title of deference for various gods or deities. The earliest recorded use of Lord in the English language in a religious context was by English Bible translators such as Bede. It was widely used in the King James Bible translated in the 17th century, see also Jesus is Lord.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Definition expands on: "lord" Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 28 Dec. 2011. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lord>.
  2. ^ "This word means in general one with power and authority, a master or ruler...The word is used for anyone whom it was desired to address deferentially" Cruden's Complete Concordance to the Bible, revised edition, 1992, "Lord", p.390
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition (Revised 2005), p.1036
  4. ^ "Manors: manorial titles and rights (PG22) - Publications - GOV.UK". www.landregistry.gov.uk. Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  5. ^ "Observations in passports - Publications - GOV.UK". www.homeoffice.gov.uk. Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  6. ^ http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/94676.pdf
  7. ^ "Australian Passports Amendment Determination 2013 (No. 1)". Federal Register of Legislation. Australian Government. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  8. ^ "Press Notice: Courtesy titles for Justices of the Supreme Court" (PDF). www.supremecourt.uk. The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  9. ^ Larousse Dictionnaire de la Langue Francaise, Paris, 1979, p.1713
  10. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". etymonline.com. Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  11. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". etymonline.com. Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  12. ^ NASB (1995). "Preface to the New American Standard Bible". New American Standard Bible (Updated Edition). Anaheim, California: Foundation Publications (for the Lockman Foundation). Archived from the original on 2006-12-07. One of the titles for God is Lord, a translation of Adonai. There is yet another name which is particularly assigned to God as His special or proper name, that is, the four letters YHWH (Exodus 3:14 and Isaiah 42:8). This name has not been pronounced by the Jews because of reverence for the great sacredness of the divine name. Therefore, it has been consistently translated LORD. The only exception to this translation of YHWH is when it occurs in immediate proximity to the word Lord, that is, Adonai. In that case it is regularly translated GOD in order to avoid confusion. 

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