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[bar-uh n] /ˈbær ən/
a member of the lowest grade of nobility.
  1. a feudal vassal holding his lands under a direct grant from the king.
  2. a direct descendant of such a vassal or his equal in the nobility.
  3. a member of the House of Lords.
an important financier or industrialist, especially one with great power in a particular area:
an oil baron.
a cut of mutton or lamb comprising the two loins, or saddle, and the hind legs.
Compare baron of beef.
Origin of baron
1200-50; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French < Late Latin barōn- (stemof barō) man < Germanic; sense “cut of beef” perhaps by analogy with the fanciful analysis of sirloin as “Sir Loin”
Can be confused
barren, baron, baronet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for barons
  • Suddenly, the geeks who used to ace the math exam are the barons of the information age.
  • And of course the coal barons, power plant operators and railroads would fight it.
  • Clearly these media conglomerates are the robber barons of our era.
  • The specter rises of a medieval land, a dominion of barons perversely devoted to the sacking of their own domains.
  • They may originally start out being robber barons, but so did we.
  • And both, after years of neglect, have become attractive to the corporate barons of the entertainment industry.
  • But at the same time, he is one of the last press barons who actually loves newspapers.
  • And to add to that amazement, there are idiots who believe every word these fossil fuel barons spew from their mouths.
  • What a slap in the face to those of us who support the oil companies and the mid east oil barons.
  • It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.
British Dictionary definitions for barons


a member of a specific rank of nobility, esp the lowest rank in the British Isles
(in Europe from the Middle Ages) originally any tenant-in-chief of a king or other overlord, who held land from his superior by honourable service; a land-holding nobleman
a powerful businessman or financier: a press baron
(English law) (formerly) the title held by judges of the Court of Exchequer
short for baron of beef
Word Origin
C12: from Old French, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German baro freeman, Old Norse berjask to fight
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for barons



c.1200, from Old French baron (nominative ber) "baron, nobleman, military leader, warrior, virtuous man, lord, husband," probably from or related to Late Latin baro "man," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Frankish *baro "freeman, man;" merged in England with cognate Old English beorn "nobleman."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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