LORD (O. Eng. hldford, i.e. hldfweard, the warder or keeper of bread, hldf, loaf; the word is not represented in any other Teutonic language), in its primary sense, the head of a household, the master of those dependent on him for their daily bread, correlative to O. Eng. hldf-aeta, loaf-eater, servant; the word frequently occurs in this sense in the Bible, cf. Matt. xxiv. 45. As a term implying the ownership of property, " lord " survives in " lord of the manor " and " landlord." The chief applications are due to its use as the equivalent of Lat. dominus, Gr. Kuptos and Fr. seigneur; thus in the Old Testament it represents Yahweh, Jehovah, and in the New Testament Kvpios, as a title of Jesus Christ. Selden's words may be quoted for the more general meanings of " lord "; " the name Dominus is ... to be thought of only as a distinguishing attribute of Greatness and as our English word Lord is; and that without any relation of it to an Interest of property or to servitude, and only as it denotes such Superiours as King or Subjects of the greater Nobility with us and men of special Eminency in other States, known by the names of Heeren, Dons, Sieurs, signiors, seigneurs . . . and the like." It is thus not only a general word for a prince or sovereign, but also the common word for a feudal superior, and particularly of a feudal tenant holding directly of the king, a baron (?..), hence a peer of the realm, a member of the House of Lords, constituted of the lords temporal and the lords spiritual; this is the chief modern usage. The prefix " lord " is ordinarily used as a less formal alternative to the full title, whether held by right or by courtesy, of marquess, earl or viscount, and is always so used in the case of a baron (which in English usage is generally confined to the holder of a foreign title). Where the name is territorial, the " of " is dropped, thus, the marquess of A., but Lord A. The younger sons of dukes and marquesses have, by courtesy, the title of Lord prefixed to the Christian and surname, e.g. Lord John Russell. In the case of bishops, the full and formal title of address is the Lord Bishop of A., whether he be a spiritual peer or not. Many high officials of the British government have the word " lord " prefixed to their titles; some of them are treated in separate articles; for lord privy seal see PRIVY SEAL. In certain cases the members of a board which has taken the place of an office of state are known as lords commissioners or, shortly, lords of the office in question, e.g. lords of the treasury, civil or naval lords of the admiralty. For lord lieutenant and lord mayor see LIEUTENANT and MAYOR. As the proper form of address " my lord " is used not only to those members of the nobility to whom the title " Lord " is applicable, and to bishops, but also to all judges of the High Court in England, and of the Scottish and Irish Superior Courts, and to lord mayors and lord provosts (see also LADY).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)