Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A British nobleman of the lowest rank.
  • n. A nobleman of continental Europe, ranked differently in various countries.
  • n. A Japanese nobleman of the lowest rank.
  • n. Used as the title for such a nobleman.
  • n. A feudal tenant holding his rights and title directly from a king or another feudal superior.
  • n. A lord or nobleman; a peer.
  • n. One having great wealth, power, and influence in a specified sphere of activity: an oil baron.
  • n. A cut of beef consisting of a double sirloin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The male ruler of a barony.
  • n. A male member of the lowest rank of British nobility.
  • n. A particular cut of beef, made up of a double sirloin.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A title or degree of nobility; originally, the possessor of a fief, who had feudal tenants under him; in modern times, in France and Germany, a nobleman next in rank below a count; in England, a nobleman of the lowest grade in the House of Lords, being next below a viscount.
  • n. A husband.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Great Britain, the title of a nobleman holding the lowest rank in the peerage; a member of the baronage: as, Baron Arundell of Wardour; a Scotch baron.
  • n. A title of the judges or officers of the English Court of Exchequer, hence called barons of the Exchequer, the president of the court being called chief baron.
  • n. In law and heraldry, a husband: as, baron and feme, husband and wife.
  • n. On the continent of Europe, especially in France and Germany, a member of the lowest order of hereditary nobility: in Germany, same as Freiherr.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a nobleman (in various countries) of varying rank
  • n. a very wealthy or powerful businessman
  • n. a British peer of the lowest rank

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, probably of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French baron, Late Latin baro, barōnem (not to be confused with classical bāro, bārōnem "simpleton"). Used in early Germanic law in the sense of homo, especially "man, servant, follower, warrior" (also as barus). It is presumably of Frankish origin, from a Germanic word meaning "servant; man, warrior", cognate with Old English beorn, perhaps originally *beron- (“carrier”). A Celtic origin has also been suggested, due to the occurrence of a Latin barones meaning servos militum as early as the first century (Cornutus, On Persius' Fifth Satire). OED takes this hypothetical Celtic *bar- (“hero”) to be a figment. (Wiktionary)

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