(often initial capital letter) (used in exclamatory phrases to express surprise, elation, etc.): Lord, what a beautiful day!


    lord it, to assume airs of importance and authority; behave arrogantly or dictatorially; domineer: to lord it over the menial workers.

Origin of lord

before 900; Middle English lord, loverd, Old English hlāford, hlāfweard literally, loaf-keeper. See loaf1, ward
Related formslord·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for lord



a person who has power or authority over others, such as a monarch or master
a male member of the nobility, esp in Britain
(in medieval Europe) a feudal superior, esp the master of a manorCompare lady (def. 5)
a husband considered as head of the household (archaic except in the facetious phrase lord and master)
astrology a planet having a dominating influence
my lord a respectful form of address used to a judge, bishop, or nobleman


(tr) rare to make a lord of (a person)
to act in a superior manner towards (esp in the phrase lord it over)
Derived Formslordless, adjectivelordlike, adjective

Word Origin for lord

Old English hlāford bread keeper; see loaf 1, ward



a title given to God or Jesus Christ
  1. a title given to men of high birth, specifically to an earl, marquess, baron, or viscount
  2. a courtesy title given to the younger sons of a duke or marquess
  3. the ceremonial title of certain high officials or of a bishop or archbishopLord Mayor; Lord of Appeal; Law Lord; Lord Bishop of Durham


(sometimes not capital) an exclamation of dismay, surprise, etcGood Lord!; Lord only knows!
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

Word Origin and History for lord

mid-13c., laverd, loverd, from Old English hlaford "master of a household, ruler, superior," also "God" (translating Latin Dominus, though Old English drihten was used more often), earlier hlafweard, literally "one who guards the loaves," from hlaf "bread, loaf" (see loaf (n.)) + weard "keeper, guardian" (see ward (n.)). Cf. lady, and Old English hlafæta "household servant," literally "loaf-eater." Modern monosyllabic form emerged 14c. As an interjection from late 14c. Lord's Prayer is from 1540s. Lord of the Flies translates Beelzebub (q.v.) and was name of 1954 book by William Golding. To drink like a lord is from 1620s.


c.1300, "to exercise lordship," from lord (n.). Meaning "to play the lord, domineer" is late 14c. Related: Lorded; lording. To lord it is from 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with lord


In addition to the idiom beginning with lord

  • lord it over

also see:

  • drunk as a lord
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.