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[sur] /sɜr/
a respectful or formal term of address used to a man:
No, sir.
(initial capital letter) the distinctive title of a knight or baronet:
Sir Walter Scott.
(initial capital letter) a title of respect for some notable personage of ancient times:
Sir Pandarus of Troy.
a lord or gentleman:
noble sirs and ladies.
an ironic or humorous title of respect:
sir critic.
Archaic. a title of respect used before a noun to designate profession, rank, etc.:
sir priest; sir clerk.
Origin of sir
1250-1300; Middle English; unstressed variant of sire Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sir
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Miss Avice won't be down, sir, and I'm to fetch her up a pot of coffee, sir.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • And oh, sir,” added Stephen, “may we crave a drop of water for our dog?

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • The poor dog heard the tumult, and leapt to your aid, sir, and we made after him.

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • Birkenholt, sir,” answered Ambrose, “but our uncle is Harry Randall.

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • "Good-morning, sir," said Robert, removing his hat on entering.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
British Dictionary definitions for sir


a formal or polite term of address for a man
(archaic) a gentleman of high social status
Word Origin
C13: variant of sire


a title of honour placed before the name of a knight or baronet: Sir Walter Raleigh
(archaic) a title placed before the name of a figure from ancient history
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 sir

c.1300, title of honor of a knight or baronet (until 17c. also a title of priests), variant of sire, originally used only in unstressed position. Generalized as a respectful form of address by mid-14c.; used as a salutation at the beginning of letters from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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