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
He was crowned lord and sire.
In the election of a sir so rare.
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
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.
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?"
☞ 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,