The 1st edition of the OED defines it as "The French designation for an English lord; often applied to any wealthy Englishman", and gives the following examples of its use in English, borrowed back from French (of course, this dictionary doesn't cover use of the word in non-English languages, but it does mention an Italian version milordo):
- 1814, Byron's Don Juan: "‘Jest!’ quoth Milor."
- 1863, George Augustus Sala's Qualk the Circumnav.: "An eccentric child of Albion, a milord, afflicted with the ‘spleen’."
- 1876, George Eliot's Daniel Deronda: "The milord, owner of the handsome yacht."
-- AnonMoos 14:19, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Milor(d) and M'lud
These have the same ultimate origin, but in the 19th century were pronounced rather differently, and were used by different groups of people for very different purposes... AnonMoos (talk) 09:10, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Not used for nobility?
The article says " even though the English-language phrase "my Lord" (the source of "milord") played a somewhat minor role in the British system of honorific forms of address, and most of those addressed as "milord" were not in fact proper "lords" (members of the nobility) at all." I don't think this is true. "My Lord" (or alternatively "your Lordship") is the normal usage when addressing any peer below the rank of Duke. Of course, it would't be pronounced "milord" in those instances. 220.127.116.11 (talk) 22:13, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
- In Britain, "My lord" was just one element in the honorific mix, only used to address a relatively small number of individuals with certain fixed and defined statuses (i.e. noblemen from baron to marquis), and was not even the only form of address used to them. By contrast, French guides and interpreters and keepers of inns along tourist routes etc. often addressed all male English-speaking travellers who looked vaguely upper-class as "milord". Feel free to offer any ideas on how to better explain this situation... AnonMoos (talk) 03:22, 7 February 2012 (UTC)