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mid-13c., laverd, loverd, from Old English hlaford "master of a household, ruler, superior," also "God" (translating Latin Dominus, though Old English drihten was used more often), earlier hlafweard, literally "one who guards the loaves," from hlaf "bread, loaf" (see loaf (n.)) + weard "keeper, guardian" (see ward (n.)). Cf. lady, and Old English hlafæta "household servant," literally "loaf-eater." Modern monosyllabic form emerged 14c. As an interjection from late 14c. Lord's Prayer is from 1540s. Lord of the Flies translates Beelzebub (q.v.) and was name of 1954 book by William Golding. To drink like a lord is from 1620s.
c.1300, "to exercise lordship," from lord (n.). Meaning "to play the lord, domineer" is late 14c. Related: Lorded; lording. To lord it is from 1570s.
There are various Hebrew and Greek words so rendered. (1.) Heb. Jehovah, has been rendered in the English Bible LORD, printed in small capitals. This is the proper name of the God of the Hebrews. The form "Jehovah" is retained only in Ex. 6:3; Ps. 83:18; Isa. 12:2; 26:4, both in the Authorized and the Revised Version. (2.) Heb. 'adon, means one possessed of absolute control. It denotes a master, as of slaves (Gen. 24:14, 27), or a ruler of his subjects (45:8), or a husband, as lord of his wife (18:12). The old plural form of this Hebrew word is _'adonai_. From a superstitious reverence for the name "Jehovah," the Jews, in reading their Scriptures, whenever that name occurred, always pronounced it _'Adonai_. (3.) Greek kurios, a supreme master, etc. In the LXX. this is invariably used for "Jehovah" and "'Adonai." (4.) Heb. ba'al, a master, as having domination. This word is applied to human relations, as that of husband, to persons skilled in some art or profession, and to heathen deities. "The men of Shechem," literally "the baals of Shechem" (Judg. 9:2, 3). These were the Israelite inhabitants who had reduced the Canaanites to a condition of vassalage (Josh. 16:10; 17:13). (5.) Heb. seren, applied exclusively to the "lords of the Philistines" (Judg. 3:3). The LXX. render it by satrapies. At this period the Philistines were not, as at a later period (1 Sam. 21:10), under a kingly government. (See Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam. 6:18.) There were five such lordships, viz., Gath, Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron.
in the British Isles, a general title for a prince or sovereign or for a feudal superior (especially a feudal tenant who holds directly from the king, i.e., a baron). In the United Kingdom the title today denotes a peer of the realm, whether or not he sits in Parliament as a member of the House of Lords. Before the Hanoverian succession, before the use of "prince" became settled practice, royal sons were styled Lord Forename or the Lord Forename.