Definitions

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

  • n. A man of rank, especially a feudal lord.
  • n. Used as a form of address for such a man.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A feudal lord; nobleman who held his lands by feudal grant; any lord (holder) of a manor; a gentleman.
  • n. A title of respect, formerly corresponding (especially in France) approximately to Sir.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A lord; the lord of a manor.
  • n. A title of honor or of address in the South of Europe, corresponding to Sir or Mr. in English.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A lord; a gentleman; used as a title of honor or customary address, ‘sir.’ See sir, signor, señor.
  • n. In feudal law, the lord of a fee or manor.
  • n. A great personage or dignitary.

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

  • n. a man of rank in the ancient regime

Etymologies

Middle English segnour, from Old French seignor, from Vulgar Latin *senior, from Latin, older, comparative of senex, sen-, old; see sen- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French seignor, or seignior, from Latin senior (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Started on a course not his own, he gives, buys, builds, and exchanges; he assists those belonging to his own society, doing everything in a style becoming to a grand seignior, that is to say, throwing money away by handfuls.

    The Ancient Regime

  • He behaved with the autocratic entitlement of an old-time seignior, but for him the liaisons were as passionately emotional an d artistic as they were sexual.

    The Passions of an Impresario

  • “As you will, my good seignior,” replied the Bohemian.

    Quentin Durward

  • Who would believe that the souls of Garasse, Nonnotte, Paulian, Fréron, and he of Langliviet, calling himself La Beaumelle, were in this respect of the same temper as those of Cæsar, Cicero, St. Cyril, and of the secretary of the grand seignior?

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • Disdain, even disgust, on the part of the proprietor and seignior for the cultivator and the artisan whose work supported him is one of the most characteristic features of the middle age...the peasant was a creature to exploit at home, and to destroy abroad, and nothing more.

    My first review article!

  • Were we to contend with the grand seignior of the east about our enjoyments, we might easily bear down his windy, pompous train of titles with this one, -- which "millies repetitum placebit," -- The gospel, the gospel!

    The Sermons of John Owen

  • "But what must they do then, seignior?" said the Spaniard.

    The Further Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe

  • This advice was good: but Will Atkins replied merrily, "That is true, seignior, and so shall I too; and that is the reason I would go on while I am warm."

    The Further Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe

  • "Why, seignior," says the Spaniard, "by the same rule, we must be your servants, too."

    The Further Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe

  • The sovereign is the seignior of the City, and therefore entitled in the first instance to all customs, duties, revenues, and imposts levied within its precincts.

    The Corporation of London, Its Rights and Privileges

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