a member of the lowest grade of nobility.
a feudal vassal holding his lands under a direct grant from the king.
a direct descendant of such a vassal or his equal in the nobility.
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.

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”

barren, baron, baronet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
baron (ˈbærən)
1.  a member of a specific rank of nobility, esp the lowest rank in the British Isles
2.  (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
3.  a powerful businessman or financier: a press baron
4.  English law (formerly) the title held by judges of the Court of Exchequer
5.  short for baron of beef
[C12: from Old French, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German baro freeman, Old Norse berjask to fight]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1200, from O.Fr. baron (nom. ber) "baron, nobleman, military leader, warrior, virtuous man, lord, husband," perhaps from Frankish baro "freeman, man;" merged with cognate O.E. beorn "nobleman." Related: Baronial (1767).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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
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.
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